I learned about the turkeys early on. One of my coworkers mentioned them in passing. "At Thanksgiving," she said, "they give us turkeys."
At the time, I was safely and happily housed in my old apartment, more financially secure, and fully determined to live out my life without ever cooking a turkey. I'd watched my mom on many a Thanksgiving at, like, the crack if freaking dawn, massaging the feeling back into her fingers after reaching inside a (still, despite days of thawing) frozen bird, an act that I found horrifying and totally unnecessary in my life.
I mean, I've never even roasted a CHICKEN. The closest my kitchen has ever come to roasted poultry has been a rotisserie chicken, purchased fully cooked in its black plastic space capsule and quickly dismantled for soup making purposes on weekends where I really missed my mom and needed to eat something that tasted like home.
"Maybe I'll donate it," I said to my coworker. "I don't really do turkey."
"They're good about getting them to the food bank," she said.
I thought no more about it.
Time passed. I was homeless, and then not homeless, but significantly less financially secure -- by which I mean kind of broke. Okay, really broke.
My mom said, "Did you tell me that your office gives people turkeys for Thanksgiving?"
"You are going to take that turkey. And you are going to cook it. And eat it. Free food, Yellie. Cook the damn turkey."
My sister said, "But you've never even roasted a CHICKEN."
She sounded worried. "I just think... This might be, kind of, too... Ambitious. You should probably start smaller."
"I mean, there's just so much MEAT on a turkey. There are three of us and last year I just got a turkey breast and we ate turkey for DAYS. Until I had to chuck it out because we couldn't eat any more turkey. And... There's only you at your house."
"I don't know about this. So do a chicken first. Like a trial run!"
I never quite got around to the whole chicken thing.
The week before Thankgiving, HR sent out an email. Turkeys would be distributed the Friday before Thanksgiving. "They are between 22-24 pounds each!"
"The turkey is going to weigh between twenty-two and twenty-four pounds."
"I've never even seen a turkey that big."
"Me either. I've never cooked one that large."
"I've never cooked one EVER and now I'm going to have the Turkey that Ate Tokyo. Turkey-Zilla. I don't know. Maybe I shouldn't."
"But you're gonna. Get freezer bags. You're cooking that beast."
"Shut it and cook the damn thing. It's not hard!"
...stay tuned ...
...stay tuned ...