One of my favorite times of the year is the fall season. I love the brisk mornings and the cooler days that seem to happen overnight. My birthday is also September 23rd which is the first day of fall. Fall means school is beginning, the fair is coming and Thanksgiving is just around the corner. It is also a good time to get “Olivia” my ’37 Buick out and go to a few car shows. September, October and November are to me the best times of the year!
The older I get the faster September 23rd seems to come around. Geezzz…. The years are flying by. I think somewhere between my mother telling me that I was too young for that outfit I was wearing and now the comment of, “that outfit is too young looking for you,” I have turned middle aged. Middle aged I thought was somewhere around 60! But how many 120 year olds do you know?! Oh well, life goes on and on. My theory on life has changed through the years. I am a firm believer that life is short and you better not waste it and wait until later for the things that you dream of doing or seeing. I was standing in my aunt’s kitchen a few months back and noticed something hanging on her wall that I had painted. I noticed the date and was shocked to realize it had been hanging on her wall for 20 years! That’s what I mean. It just seems like a few years ago that my parents and I were doing craft shows and flea markets. I don’t know how we held up to doing it but we did for many years.
The holiday rituals are changing too. I can remember that when Halloween rolled around you were gearing up for the Lowe Jr. High Halloween Carnival. Every kid in Minden that went to Lowe Jr. High remembers the huge cake walks and games that were held every year. After Halloween you were fast approaching Thanksgiving and a week- long vacation from school. Now days Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas are all out on the store shelves at the same time. You don’t get to enjoy one thing at a time anymore.
Getting out of school for any reason was something to look forward to and a turkey holiday made it even better. A turkey holiday is any holiday where the serving of turkey is accepted as not only the norm but a must have. Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and Easter are all appropriate turkey holidays. I can remember a few turkey disasters during my 45+ years. One of the most memorable is the year that my cousin Craig was smoking a turkey and caught the yard on fire and almost burned the house down on Christmas Eve! Another episode and this one happened a few times. The ever popular mistake of forgetting to take the gizzards and livers out of the cavity of the turkey until it has already been cooked. Several over cooked episodes come to mind and the always good idea of the experimental fried turkey. Just give me the good ol’ “cook it in the stove under its foil tent turkey”. So for all of you out there that want to do your own turkey and not depend on your local restaurant to prepare it I will give you how to cook a turkey for dummies quick guide below. This is from the Butterball web site. Easy Cooking Guide: Roasting to Perfection, whether you’re a novice cook or a seasoned pro, this will help you roast a tender, juicy, picture-perfect turkey every time. It's easy with the Butterball Open Pan Roasting Method. Place thawed or fresh turkey, breast up on a flat rack in a shallow pan, 2 to 2-1/2 inches deep. Brush or rub skin with oil to prevent the skin from drying and to enhance the golden color. Insert oven-safe meat thermometer deep into the lower part of the thigh muscle, but not touching the Bone. When thigh is up to temperature and if turkey is stuffed, move thermometer to center of stuffing for stuffing temperature. Place in a preheated 325°F oven. When the turkey is about two-thirds done, loosely cover the breast and top of drumsticks with a piece of lightweight foil to prevent overcooking the breast. Use this roasting schedule as a guideline; start checking for doneness 1/2 hour before recommended end times:
Net Weight ( in pounds) Unstuffed ( in hours) Stuffed (in hours)
10 to 18 3 to 3-1/2 3-3/4 to 4-1/2
18 to 22 3-1/2 to 4 4-1/2 to 5
22 to 24 4 to 4-1/2 5 to 5-1/2
24 to 30 4-1/2 to 5 5-1/2 to 6-1/4
If unstuffed, the turkey is done when the meat thermometer reaches the following temperature: 180’F deep in the thigh; also, juices should be clear, not reddish pink when thigh muschle is pierced deeply.
If the turkey is stuffed, move the thermometer to the center of stuffing to read temperature. If both the thigh and the stuffing have reached temperatures listed below then the turkey is done: 180’F deep in the thigh; also, juices should be clear, not reddish pink when thigh muscle is pierced deeply. 160’F in the center of the stuffing. Before removing stuffing and carving, let turkey stand 15 minutes to allow juices to set and stuffing temperature to rise to 165’F. HOW DO I KNOW WHEN THE TURKEY IS DONE? Turkey is done when the meat thermometer reaches the following temperatures: 180°F deep in the thigh; also, juices should be clear, not reddish pink when thigh muscle is pierced deeply. With stuffing stand 15 minutes. This stand time allows the stuffing temperature to reach 165°F for an added measure of safety. Now that you know how to cook a turkey you will do just fine tin the kitchen for your next turkey holiday!
One of my other favorite traditions when I was a kid was watching the Macy’s parade on TV while my mama and aunts and grandparents cooked the huge meal for the feast. Do you remember the old black and white box with the tin foil wrapped around the rabbit ears for that great reception after beating it on the side for that vertical and horizontal adjustment? If all else failed your dad would go outside and turn the antennae until you yelled ok! When the only remote in the house was when your parents told you to get up and turn the channel for them! This maybe why people had more kids back then. They always wanted to have a “remote kid’ on hand for the many channels that we had like 3, 6 and 12.
After parades and feasting came football games and napping. Then you would repeat the meal again in no less that 4 or 5 hours. The turkey never tasted as good the second time around. I think it was the anticipation of seeing it carved with all the juice running out of it. Until next time don’t let your turkey dry out!