The road to Thanksgiving dinner is fraught with danger and excitement.
At long last, it’s Autumn and gratefully, the unbearably hot summer weather has broken. Finally, I can somewhat comfortably emerge from Chateau Pap Smear into the great outdoors without torrential rivers of perspiration gushing forth from between my many chins, underarms, and multiple-spare-tired midsection.
Since it is Fall, the holiday season is quickly approaching, and plans for the annual family Thanksgiving feast are being made. Few things in life excite this insatiable buffet queen more than a prodigious Thanksgiving feast. However, I’m waiting with much trepidation for my food assignment for the gathering because I’m reminded of a Thanksgiving several years ago when my contribution was to prepare the turkey.
Back story: A few years ago, when a new supermarket opened near Chateau Pap Smear, they gave away a free turkey with any purchase of more than $50. So naturally, reverting to my Mormon upbringing and the whole two-year food storage thing, I divided up my spending into several trips so that with a little bit of creative shopping, I was able to score four free turkeys.
I proudly announced to the family that I would prepare the turkey that year. Besides, I needed to clear some space from my freezer to fit in some more frozen burritos. I had read online about the slow-roasting method of cooking turkeys — Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Place turkey in a heavy roasting pan, uncovered. Add one inch of water in the bottom of the pan. Bake for one hour to crisp and seal in juices. Reduce heat to 185 degrees and continue roasting for 12 more hours. Ok, that sounded easy enough.
Dinner was going to be at 2 p.m. So, at midnight, I preheated the oven to 500 degrees as the instructions said. My breasticles began to sweat just thinking about the heat. I ever-so-gently rubbed the bird all over with butter. I was so unaccustomed to using anything other than a water-based lube, that I was a little uncomfortable, yet strangely aroused, doing this. I didn’t have a big enough roasting pan to fit the bird, so I used a Pyrex baking dish. I ever-so-carefully placed the bird into the dish and poured about three cups of water into the bottom of the dish as instructed. I shoved the bird into the blazingly hot oven. Then I retired to the living room and began watching a holiday movie to get more in the holiday mood.
After one hour, the timer went off. I paused “Holiday Bromance: Stuffing Daddy’s Turkey” just as the “plot” was getting “hard” to follow. I went into the kitchen and turned the oven down to 185 and opened the door to check on the bird. It was crisping up just like a naked gym bunny without sunscreen on Bare Bum Beach. I noticed that all the water in the Pyrex dish was gone. Now, my mama didn’t raise no fool, and I knew that I could not add cold water to a hot glass pan, so I let the hot water tap run until it was at its hottest. I filled a pitcher with water and poured it into the Pyrex dish. A small cloud of steam wafted out of the oven, giving me an unexpected but welcome facial. ALL WAS WELL. I closed the oven and went back to watching “Stuffing Daddy’s Turkey”.
The movie was just coming to its climax. Suddenly, I was startled by a huge boom. The house shook. I screamed, or was that a cry from the movie? My god, we must be under attack. Either that or “Daddy’s Turkey” got stuffed, and not in the good way. I quickly leapt (oozed) off the couch and ran (lumbered) into the kitchen. Clouds of smoke and steam were gushing from the oven. Frightenedly, I opened the oven door and discovered that the Pyrex baking dish had exploded. After the smoke had cleared, I discovered that the naked turkey was left sitting on the oven rack. There were shards of glass all over the bottom of the oven. The scene resembled a bomb blast from a war movie.
Miss Manners’ School of Drag Queen Etiquette had not prepared me for such an event. There was not enough time to thaw another turkey. My Boy Scout training to always be prepared began to kick in. In desperation, I thought if I can bedazzle breasticles, shoes, and purses, perhaps I can bedazzle some sort of bird-shaped construction out of hot dogs. What to do? What to do? Then, suddenly, I remembered that Julia Child said, “Always remember: If you’re alone in the kitchen and you drop the lamb, you can always just pick it up. Who’s going to know?”
So, I put on my oven mitts, lifted the war-torn bird from the oven, brushed off the glass shards, put it in a new pan, and unceremoniously shoved it back in the oven. The next day, the family raved about the juicy turkey. I quietly smiled and said, “Thank you.”
Like always, these events leave us with several eternal questions:
1. In times of crisis, would it be acceptable to catch, save and use the rivers of sweat to brine the turkey?
2. Should I incorporate a gutter system complete with gargoyles into my breasticles to catch and retain the sweat for such purposes?
3. If I have Gargoyles like a cathedral, should people call me Saint Petunia, Our Lady of Pap Smears?
4. Might the state of Utah want to access this plentiful resource to help replenish The Great Salt Lake?
5. Should I adapt some breasticles into chimneys to channel smoke and steam?
6. Should I teach classes on how to bedazzle hot dogs?
These and other important questions to be answered in future chapters of The Perils of Petunia Pap-Smear