The countdown has begun. Before long, thousands will be in the kitchen preparing their very first Thanksgiving turkey. As a service to readers, I felt a responsibility to help educate people about foodborne illness by offering a special holiday feature that I’d like to call:
Don’t lose your giblets this Thanksgiving.
Being a writer, I’ve naturally spent a good portion of my career working in the food service industry. And like most writers, it was there that I was able practice my craft and eventually acquire something that ALL good writers must have: A Food Handler’s Card.
Because of this, I can stand before you as someone highly qualified to talk turkey.
So let us begin.
Unless you actually live on a turkey farm (in which case you’ll be serving ham or nachos or meat loaf or microwaveable pork rinds or ANYTHING but more turkey this Thanksgiving), your bird has probably been somewhere in the bottom of the freezer since last January — in most cases, right next to that unlabeled container of something which, in its frozen state, has become completely unrecognizable. This means that you will have to thaw your turkey before cooking it.
To estimate how long the thawing process should take, the rule of thumb is 24 hours for every five pounds, which means that if you forgot to pull your bird out ahead of time, you’ll be thawing your turkey with a blow torch like the rest of us.
Once it’s thawed, reach into the abdominal cavity and remove the giblets, which, apparently, all turkeys conveniently wrap in wax paper and then swallow moments before death. Next, you need to immediately place the giblets into the refrigerator. This will ensure they don’t end up on the kitchen floor and, as a result, get thrown away after being mistaken for cat vomit.
If you choose to cook the stuffing inside the turkey, make sure that you don’t over stuff the body cavity. This can impede the cooking process and provide a breeding ground for foodborne illness. In addition, the expansion of cooked bread crumbs in a confined space can lead to what culinary experts call “Exploding Turkey” syndrome. Though it’s not lethal, it will mean a substantial delay in festivities while everyone waits for you to scrape the stuffing from the ceiling.
Important tip for first-timers: Once the bird has been stuffed, remember to put the legs into a tucked position using twine or a metal clip. This is important because, if you don’t, the legs WILL spring up and do the splits at some point during dinner.
Okay, not really.
But if that does happen, you may want to put the turkey back into the oven for a while — assuming you haven’t lost your giblets.
(Ned Hickson is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation and a member of the writing team at Long Awkward Pause. This has been an excerpt from his book, Humor at the Speed of Life, available from Port Hole Publications, Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble.)
37 thoughts on “Don’t let your Thanksgiving turkey become memorable for the wrong reasons”
I am now picturing a turkey swallowing his wrapped giblets, followed by a shot of tequila to help get it down. The Cuervo may explain part of the exploding process!
Lol! It would also explain why oyr turkey came with a sombrero…
Lol…glad I could help. 😉
Who cares about foodborne illness? I want to know how to get my turkey to have tan lines like that. I NEED to make this happen. I’m always surprising my family on the holidays.
You could always surprise them with Tofurkey..?
Ned, I gobbled this post right up. I’m going out on a wing here by saying you’re thigh high in keeping abreast of what your readers need to know about birds this coming holiday. You give good turkey talk and that’s no jive.
Hahaha! Thanks! I’m just glad no one was offended by all the fowl language…
I spent way too much time carving the turkey last year. So can you go over the details on how to make the turkey explode?
Stuffing. Lots and lots of stuffing. And maybe a handfull of Pop Rocks…
I bet if I drink enough wine, my turkey will do the splits.
And I’m guessing so will you..?
i’ve done the giblet hide and seek game in my time…
This is why I just go to someone else’s house on Thanksgiving. Got an extra chair?
Ok, but it’s at the kids’ table…
I’m at home there.
I’ll probably be sitting next to you…
I remember sitting around the table thirty years ago and having turkey dinner. But the turkey won. Most of those around the table have passed away. White meat, black meat, seasoned to well done, eating turkey was at one time was fun, but now it is done. Gobble Gobble.
I’d be happy to pass you the giblets, Barry.
Blogging is an extended family.
Yes it is, Barry;)
What rhymes with “giblet”? Asking for a friend.
Reblogged this on Kate McClelland.
So, if you share or reblog this, is that considered cross-contamination? Either way, thanks Kate 😉
I haven’t managed to lose mine but came close. Two days ago the cafeteria worker almost drenched my quesadilla in hamburger drippings…gag reflex just thinking about it. Then, yesterday, a rag that was lightly wiped along a surface and left food remnants churned my stomach again. Thanks for the tips.
I literally let out a gag sound with that quesadilla description. I’m a shameless carrnivor but meat drippings where they aren’t supposed to be still makes my stomach churn. Glad I could help (I WAS helping, right? I’m still not sure…)
Canadian Thanksgiving has already passed – as has the turkey I prepared.. barely.
And in that icky note, I want to wish you and yours a Happy Yankee Thanksgiving, Ned. All the best, buddy.
And a belated Canuck Thanksgiving to you and your family as well, my friend!
O M G!!! LMAO!!! ❤ it and YOU! Gobble Gobble!!!
This year I am just dropping a frozen turkey in the middle of the table… no plate or anything… and calling it ‘mission completed’… ala president Bush…
Hahaha! Great job making the pie higher…
That is sort of what I do… I think… maybe…
And yet ANOTHER wonderful service announcement! WOW! Thanks Ned! 😉
We will be having deep fried turkey, BBQ, venison something I’s sure since my dad told me he has about 400 lbs of deer meat dressed out so far! Sheesh…
Happy early Thanksgiving! 😉
Maybe he can make a TuDeerKen?
Oh god… the last thing my father needs is for someone to encourage him!! ha ha!