Before anyone asks, my Thanksgiving was perfectly acceptable. I really didn’t celebrate on Thanksgiving day mind you, as I have no blood-family in Toledo to speak of. I do have my sister’s place in Cincinatti but why bother her? I mean I’d spend to much time teaching her kids to swear and give them comics that I know their mother wouldn’t want them to read. So my Thanksgiving was spent at home, enjoying the time by watching shows on my DVR that I hadn’t had the chance to watch yet. Besides, I wasn’t that excited for Thanksgiving, I was excited for Thanksgaming!
I love all the people in my gaming group, so as thanks for their continued participation I determined that the Saturday of Thanksgiving Weekned would be declared Gamer’s Giving. My dear friend Cindi determined my name for this was to unweildly and thus should be amended to Thanksgamng. I concurred and thus, hopefully, a new tradition was born. I proposed the scenario to the gaming group and the idea was met with a resounding approval. I told the group I would provide the turkey and dressing and one sidedish. It was their responsibility to provide the other sidedishes. Cindi immediately claimed dessert. Everyone else promised to bring something to our fine nerdesque feast.
So it went that Friday morning, the day after Thanksgiving, I went to the market a procured a 22 pound turkey. To compliment it, 2 bags of stuffing were purchased along with a jug of apple cider and 2 cans of corn. This was all brought back to the House Of The Duck for preparation. The turkey was frozen solid and thus required some serious thawing. It was 11am by the time I got home, so the bird was put under some running water for a very long time. I then spent the day goofing off online and watching Doctor Who. At 7pm my dear friends Chris and Lauren arrived to take me to their place for our usual friday tradition of hanging out and drinking. The bird had been under running water for close to 8 hours at this point so I shut it off and went for my usual night of revelry.
I left Chris and Lauren’s around 2am and while my room mate Drew was driving my fat ass home, it dawned on me that I forgot to buy a proper roasting pan. So I tell Drew “We need to go to Kroger”. Drew was resitant to this idea, since he just wanted to get home in order to prepare for his usal Saturday morning hangover. I pointed out that we were in desperate need of papertowels. He tried the argument that he’d take me to the grocery stoer in the morning and I pointed out the actual likliness of that happening. At last he relented and a sidetrip was made for our extra supplies. When we got home I checked our bird and it was 3/4 thawed. My logic dictated that if I soaked it inits marinade overnight all would be right in Whoville. That being said I took out the giblets and neck and placed the bird in the roasting pan. I then poured 2 cups of Apple Cider over the fucker and let it sit in that overnight. I then played Dungeons & Dragons Online until 5:30 am because, in case you haven’t caught on, I’m a geek!
I woke up the next morning at 11 am. I pulled the bird out of the fridge and prepared the spices and seasonings I was going to use. It isn’t an extravagant list or anything as I find the most basic seasonings get the job done. In this case I used kosher salt, black pepper, poultry seasoning, brown sugar and cinnamon. These were all hand blended together and then rubbed on the bird proper. I then took a tablespoon of browning sauce and mixed it with a tabelspoon of Franks Red Hot and rubbed that on the bird as well. A few more dashes of salt on the skin, a few pats of butter in key locations and the bird went into the oven for what was supposed to be 6 hours. I followed the guidelines from Butterball very carefully. Provided I wasn’t an official Butterball Turkey but why quibble over brand names when there are geeks to feed?
[The following Diary was found by the stove, any and traces to locate the cook have been futile, we fear he has gone mad… or possibly to the store… maybe to get a haircut… honestly..
we don’t know where he is… never mind he’s sitting on the sofa reading comics again… fuckin’ nerd…]
11:30 am – The Bird sits there, mocking me. He thinks he is better than me. I’ll show thi bird… I’ll all of his kind…
12:30 pm – Toledo… I’m still Toledo… I open the door to the oven and The Bird is there. I baste him but I can hear him laughing at me, letting me know that he isn’t going ot go brown without a fight!
13:00 pm – The real work begins. I’ve timed my 30 minute intervals basting the bird to coincide with repeated trips to Korthos Island on Dungeons & Dragons Online. I’m trying to get the Slayer Experience Bonus. For every 25 minute period I kill everything non-quest related and then go bac kto baste The Bird.
13:30 pm – I kill the last Devourer Acolyte on DDO and then baste The Bird. He remains defiant in my attempts to brown him… the bastard…
14:00 pm – at 500 slain on DDO, 250 away from my goal of 750 for the XP bonus. I baste The Bird. His skin is a little golden. I tell him he isn’t so tough now…
15:00 pm – The level of liquid in the pan has risen. Grease from TheBird has mixed with the Apple Cider. I baste The Bird and then use a shot glass to siphon off excess liquid. The Bird’s skin is a light brown now. I’m winning our battle of wills…
15:30 pm – 670 slain, 130 to go for XP Bonus. The Browning sauce is really going to work on The Bird. It is much darker now. I siphon more liquid out of the pan. The bird doesn’t speak to me anymore, he just cries like a woman…
16:00 pm – I kill 2 Ice Spiders and earn my XP Bonus. I baste The Bird to celebrate. A deep, almost amber color has come over hte skin. I add another pad of butter on the breast just to taunt him.
16:30 pm – The thermometer on The Bird pops up. He is done. I baste on last time and remove him from the oven. Tskin is very crisp and most of the fat from it has dipped down in to the marinade/grease. The seasoning is plainly visible upon the skin. The Bird is a dark shade of brown and looks especially succulent.
With the turkey done I had to transfer it from the roasting pan to the cutting board. I took our butcher’s knife and a meat fork and then hoisted the beast on to the carving board. I knew it was moist because the the moment the turkey was free from the pan both wings fell off the bird and back into it. I was expecting this thing to be done around 5:30 pm and here it was , a whole hour ahead of schedule. This gave me time to make dressing, spiced corn and gravy. I strained the jiice/grease that was i nthe pan into a saucepan so it was mainly juice from the bird and boiled off apple cider. I put that o na medium flame until it came to a boil before tossing 2 tablespoons of minced garlic, salt, pepper and a little bit more apple cider. I let this simmer before adding 1/2 a cup of flour to thicken the mixture, Using a whisk, I stirred everything together until it reasonably smooth. Now, I don’t believe in completely smooth gravy but I also believe that it also can’t be overly lumpy. Somehow, I got that gravy to the perfect consistency betwen smooth and creamy wit has few lumps as possible, yet still having enugh texture. I left that on low heat to keep it warm.
The corn was next and was by far, the easiest thing I made. I drained the juice/water from 2 cans of corn int othe sink. I then melted butter in a medium pan and threw the corn int othe bottom. I seasoned this with black pepper, salt and 3 tabelspoons of Frank’s Red Hot. In case you didn’t notice, I really like Frank’s Red Hot. The key to corn fro ma can is that you want as little liquid as possible, at least in my opinion, so you really have to fry the fucking hell out of it in the bbuter and Red Hot combo while not burning anything. This requires a lot of stirring.I was very careful not to overdo the stirring before lowering the heat. I looked and saw that everything I wanted to cook was now cooked and determined that it was time to start carving the bird.
The time was 5:30 pm and the first of my Thanksgming guests arrived. “Always Reliable” Josh Henngier and Cindi made their appearance and there was much rejoicing. Cindi had brought 3 pies with her (1 Apple, 1 Pumpkin and 1 Pecan). Josh came armed with 2 bags of “Party Mix” and a pumpkin-bream roll. With the 3 pies that made a fuckload of dessert. I gave Cindi and Josh samplings of the turkey and she ended up loving me and hating me at the same time. She loved me because I was feeding her this magnificent hunk of pultry yet, she hated me because I had demonstrated my superiority as a cook over her. Now, I honestly do not believe that because everytime Cindi has cooked for me I’ve absolutely adored every morsel. I also used the “I spent 10 years wokring spent various restaurants, I had to learn something!” defense.
Then Grill Nija and Melissa arrived armed with… DONUTS! Thus everyone’s sidedish had been some type of dessert like food (save for Josh’s “Party Mix”). I was hoping someone woul bring a Green Bean Casseole or something. I gave Melissa and Ninja a small taste of turkey before carving. Melissa professed her love for me and Ninja, who has never not liked my cooking, greedily devour his little bit like it was an edible version of the One Ring. I carved the right half of the bird and told everyone to dig in… And dig in they did.After 45 minutes most of the right half of the bird was pretty much gone. save for a leg quarter that had been saved for my dear room mate. Many things were eaten, from the spicy corn, to stuffing and even a few donuts and pieces of pumpkin roll.
Now we had the undaunting task of trying to fight of tryptophan induced coma and actually try to play Dungeons & Dragons. This was a daunting task givne our full bellies and our groups penchant to running off course during gaming with wild tangents that had nothing to do with the game. Look at this way, I can’t resist telling a joke or cracking wise, Cindi is distracted by shiny things and puppies, Melissa likes to crackwise as well and I keep her pretty much laughing with my array of jokes and Ninja… poor Ninja was Dungeon Master and he not only had to get us to focus but he was fighting the aforementioned trytophan coma AND trying to get us to focus. Now Ninja will usually go off on a tangent on the drop of a hat but there are 2 things that he becomes utterly focused while doing. First is his drawing and artwork, he can’t be fucked with there. The second is when he is running a game. When Ninja runs a game he demands attention and for his players to be focused. This isn’t to say he doesn enjoy yucking it up with the rest of us but anything that distracts from the game irks him. So on this night, this Thanksgaming, Ninja was fighting a losing battle. We got some gaming done and wrapped everything up at 10:30pm. In the span of five hours we demolished half a turkey, ate a whole apple pie and managed to get some gaming done. Oh I also got a marriage proposal from Melissa for feeding her cheesecake. I also got a death threat from Cindi for giving her all this food when she is on a low-fat diet.
A marriage proposal, a death threat and 5 full bellies full of poultry, fixins and pie… I’d say Thanksgaming was a success. Though if this becomes a regular thing I’ve got to buy a smaller bird next time. I’m going to be eating turkey sandwiches for 2 weeks at this rate! Anyway, I hope you and yours all had a great Thanksgiving!