who you calling Turkey?

Thanksgiving, 1992, San Francisco, CA, my first away from home as a newly minted full-grown adult. I figured I would make the turkey, since of my 3 roommates, 2 were veggie, and one had no interest in taking on the bird. And so, I got us a huge frozen turkey that sat in our fridge for a few days befoere Thanksgiving.
The big day arrived. I went to the fridge and found that the turkey was nowhere near thawed. It was around 8am PST and our party started at 6pm. The phone (which had a very long cord, we for some reason didn't have a cordless, and no cell phones yet) was dialed and Gran Fran came on the line (it being 3 hours later in NY, her turkey was well on its way. Must also mention here, that Joe was well out of the house, too, since he cannot be in the house with odor of the roasting bird.)
"Well, you'll need to run cold water on it to get the ice to thaw. And, to make sure it's ready to cook, you don't want to give everyone salmonella." (note: Gran Fran is very wary of all manner of undercooked food for fear of diseases.)
OK, so the turkey is huge, our sink is not. Into the bathroom I go with the turkey, dragging the phone through the length of our flat. The bird is dumped into the bathtub, cold water is run over it for an hour or so, and it is thawed. (Picture my two veggie roommates coming into the bathroom and seeing me wrestling with a gigantic turkey. Needless to say, as soon as it was thawed, I was back in the bathroom armed with bleach and tub cleanser to get all meaty-juices off the surfaces).
The turkey made it into the oven around 10am, plenty of time for it to cook through. I went about my business to make other dishes, and help get the house ready for our guests. We were dressed up and the house lit with candles just in time.
The turkey had a beautifully browned skin, the meat was moist, the side dishes were delicious.
But, I had forgotten one thing. The paper wrapped innards were still in the turkey cavity. Oy, this was a tough one to explain to the guests. Suffice it to say, the turkey had been cooked for so long that the innards had been cooked, too, no danger of salmonella. But, boy, what a discovery was made when that cooked white sack was found!
Luckily, we were mostly a bunch of out-of-towners on our first solo Thanksgivings, so all was ok, as long a the wine and beer kept flowing and the pies made their way to the table.
And so, now 17 years later, that still stands out in my mind as a Thanksgiving to remember. Below is a chutney I've made in the recent past that is a great accompaniment to turkey, but could be eaten on it's own with some brie and bread, too.
Enjoy your holidays!
Cranberry Chutney
from Gourmet Magazine, 2000
  • 5 shallots (6 oz), coarsely chopped 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil 1 (12-oz) bag fresh or frozen cranberries 2/3 cup sugar 1/4 cup cider vinegar 1 teaspoon minced garlic 1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
    • Cook shallots in oil in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened.


  • Stir in remaining ingredients.



  • Simmer, stirring occasionally, until berries just pop, 10 to 12 minutes, then cool.