Okay, if you haven’t ordered your organic, grain-fed, free-range bird and guests are already finalizing their travel plans so they can be with you to break bread next Thursday, you may find yourself turning to that dusty recipe from last year for inspiration. I’ve cooked more than a few Turkey dinners in my day, but once (or even twice) a year is not often enough to keep me from feeling the need to refresh my memory by dragging out the cook books.
I’ve heard about brined birds, I’ve tasted wined birds and deep-fried birds. I’ve cooked all night birds, tented, sacked, dressed and undressed, over and under cooked birds. So here I am searching for my favorite, no fail, how-to-cook-a-turkey recipe when I discover, I have a secret weapon – NOTES.
Apparently, after one too many turkeys set off the fire alarm in my long ago apartment, I turned, disgusted, to my recipe and committed a crime against pulp: I wrote notes in my cookbook! Right there, on the hallowed, tissue thin pages I scrawled; “This sucks! The oil burns, the house fills w/smoke & smells like (something foul – I prefer to pretend I can’t read)! And if that wasn’t enough, “2 Thanksgivings” is indignantly inked below.
Thus was born, to me, what I expect all good cooks know: take notes. How many Thanksgiving disasters would I have endured before remembering on my own that the advice in The Joy of Cooking simply did not work for me? I may never have come up with my Best Ever Turkey Recipe. Thanks to my wise friend, Heidi, who gifted me with a blank book of Recipe Records years ago, when I finally had something worth remembering I had a place to write it down.