The first time I cooked a turkey, it was a pretty puny thing, scrawny, not the pumped up versions we can get today. I called my mom for her stuffing recipe, took out my “Betty Crocker’s New Picture Cook Book” and followed the instructions to the letter.
It was not so bad, but I thought it was pretty dry; did not taste juicy like my mom’s. I can’t blame it on Betty Crocker; I simply overcooked it. And don’t ask how the gravy tasted. I did a lot of straining to get the lumps out.
Since then, many turkeys later, I think I’ve finally got it right. But one thing I’ve learned, there are as many ways to cook a turkey as there are cranberries in a bog.
So I asked around. Friends, family, people I met on the street, on the golf course, in Tops parking lot, waiting in the security line at Hancock Airport. No one was spared. How, I asked, do you cook a turkey? Here are their answers.
—Frank Purcell (Chef Godzilla), retired computer guru: After washing out body cavity, discard the spare parts package unless you are a purist. Stuff with 1 to 2 bags of Pepperidge Farm pre-mixed stuffing moistened with Sam Adams beer. Cook then pour can of gravy into a gravy boat. Discard damaged, burned and underdone parts until enough meat remains on the serving platter to go around. Provide many 1.5 liter bottles of TBC (Two Buck Chuck)
—Christopher Pinckney, (son): Buy turkey. Hand over to wife. Sit on couch and wait.
—Michael Pinckney, bachelor, (son): Pick up the phone, dial 911, and ask for a restaurant that cooks turkey. Call them. Give them my credit card and pick it up.
—“Allison” in check-out line (5): You take a hot dog, bake it in the oven and it comes out a turkey.