The weather is getting colder, pumpkin is the new black, and your extended family is currently making plans to show up unannounced at your house. This can only mean one thing: it's holiday season! And what better way to show those folksy relatives of yours that you are the domestic diva they always hoped you would be (despite still renting in a not-so-great part of town and living common law with a penniless photographer boyfriend) than to serve the most amazing and traditional home-cooked meal they've ever eaten.
So let's talk turkey! Most people can handle the basics, like using the can opener and microwave to make cranberry jelly, peas, and beans. Unfortunately, you can't microwave a turkey. It just won't fit! Below are several options for preparing and presenting the most important piece of your holiday puzzle.
TIP! Don't skip out on holiday décor. A fun and family friendly setting will help you win extra points and offset the fact that you just microwaved the cranberry jelly. Dust off that Live-Laugh-Love sign your mom made for you or buy a new one at the dollar store if you already threw it out. Consider wearing a sweater with a wilderness animal on it or, while you're at the dollar store, pick up some holiday earrings and a festive broach. Most importantly, take down any alternative artwork, especially those nudes your photographer boyfriend took of you and framed in the bedroom.
1. The Traditional Turkey
Set your oven to 350F. Google how to cook a turkey. Seriously. It's not as hard as you think it is.
2. Sous Vide Turkey
This literally means in a vacuum and involves boiling your turkey in a vacuum-sealed pouch in order to keep all the juices locked inside. Please note I am not talking about chucking your turkey into a Ziploc bag and then tossing it into the bathtub. You must have the proper equipment. Actually, nevermind. You won't have the proper equipment.
3. Deep Fried Turkey
Buy a large turkey fryer (or if you live in an area with more than one country music radio station, just borrow one from a neighbor). Fill with vegetable oil and heat to 375F. Cook turkey for 3 minutes per pound. Warning: keep fryer away from children and pets. Be sure to wear protective clothing so as to not burn that wilderness animal sweater before dinner. After dinner, feel free to burn as desired.
4. Salmonella Style Turkey
This is arguably the most memorable way to serve your turkey. If you choose this option, people will be talking about you for months to come, and you'll be guaranteed that no one will show up unannounced at your place next year. Simply go back to option 1. When you Google how to cook a turkey, it will instruct you to calculate the cooking time for the size of your turkey. Now do the math again without a calculator and use that time. Remember to serve the outer, cooked pieces to yourself and anyone else you don't want to get sick. Save the innermost, pink cuts of meat for anyone who makes a comment about your boyfriend's skinny jeans.
5. Catering Service
Pay a caterer to drop off a fully cooked turkey with all the trimmings well in advance of anyone arriving. Transfer everything into your own dishes and place any boxes or bags from the caterer in a clear plastic bag. Tie up the bag and place on the curb in front of your neighbor's house. When your family shows up, call attention to the trash and comment on how pathetic it is that your neighbor had to have his turkey catered in.
One of these scrumptious options is sure to impress this holiday season. You may even be forced to host multiple dinners, in which case you can try out a few different options this year. Just remember, if something goes wrong, casually mention how your cousin, who's been looking a little pudgy lately, recently posted a picture of her new tattoo on Facebook. The heat will be off you instantly as your family debates which drugs she must be on and how many weeks pregnant she is.