Friday, June 6, 2008

Cooking Don'ts 101

America's worst cook? I'm close but not quite there yet. Anyone who knows me knows that cooking is generally not my idea of a fun time. It was not something I had to learn growing up. I did bake a lot but never learned the fine art of making a meal. Maybe that had something to do with the fact that the first time I ever made a meal I forgot to put the tuna in the tuna casserole!

Marrying young and moving far away from family required me to learn on my own. I can't say it was something I picked up easily. With it being just the two of us we were pretty content to munch and snack with no actual "sit-down" family meals. The first "sit-down" dinner I ever had to cook was for our first Thanksgiving. Mr. Ex's grandparents were flying out to visit and being young and foolish, I wanted to impress them with a big Thanksgiving spread.

The menu included turkey (of course), mashed potatoes & gravy, scalloped corn, green beans w/french fried onions, cranberries, dinner rolls, pumpkin pie w/real whipped cream and maybe a couple of other items but memory fails me on those. The trouble started with the fact that I had never cooked a turkey before (neither had Mr. Ex) and we didn't read the instructions (pre-internet days). Combined with the fact that I had to work the early shift at the restaurant and Mr. Ex had to pick up the grandparents at the airport, this was indeed a good recipe for culinary disaster.

So...around 4:00 AM (had to leave for work at 4:30 AM) I pulled the turkey out of the sink of water that it had been sitting in overnight and didn't think a thing about it still being pretty much frozen. I placed it in the pan and stuck it in the oven with the temp around 150 degrees. Now I don't remember after all of these years just why I chose that low temperature but I did. I headed off to work my shift with thoughts of moist juicy turkey dancing in my head. Mr. Ex eventually headed off to the airport naively assuming also that we would all come home to an apartment filled with the smell of yummy turkey. Eventually my shift ended and we all arrived home eagerly anticipating Thanksgiving dinner. After all, the turkey had been in the oven for about 10 hours by now.

Lo and behold, the turkey was not done! How could that be?! Surely ten hours was plenty of time to cook a turkey! Well I can laugh now because I now know that a frozen turkey will not cook at that temperature. It will however defrost and scare you enough into throwing it away for fear of making everyone sick with your improper meat handling techniques! So our first Thanksgiving dinner consisted of most of the menu items, just no turkey. Thankfully Mr. Ex's grandmother stepped in and supervised the rest of the cooking so that the meal was indeed edible!

I can say now that I can cook a good turkey. But I prefer not too. I'll leave that to people who know what they're doing! I do, however, make a mean cup of coffee! :)

“This post was written for Parent Bloggers Network as part of a contest sponsored by the American Egg Board.”


Vanessa said...

What a funny memory of the first Thanksgiving dinner. I hope his Grandmother was gracious about the stepping in and supervising process.

Diane said...

haha! I've never cooked a turkey before, that's my hubby's job.