arabella and i decided we should do a real thanksgiving dinner for all the poor suckers who were stuck in virginia beach for the holiday this year. we sent out a facebook invite, and soon we had a total of 13 people who would attend. we read online that you should buy about a pound of turkey per person in order to have enough to eat plus some leftovers, so we set out the tuesday before thanksgiving to purchase a 13 pounder.
a note: the day before we purchased our turkey, we were told it was too late. this dinner could not be done. we should give up now and buy a pre-cooked bird. but arabella and i wouldn't give up. we would persevere. we. would. be. marthas. (stewart, that is. although the Biblical reference kind of works too.)
so we ended up buying a fresh 16 pounder on tuesday night. we named him reginald. or gerald. i really can't remember which. i offered a brief "nice to meet you" before i stuck my hand up his butt to rip out his innards. his organs were gross and squishy. i didn't think it would bother me, but it really really did. i was also shocked that reginald gerald actually smelled like butt. i mean, i didn't expect him to smell like a flower, but the general putrescence still took me aback. it made me think that the episode of friends where joey and monica have turkeys on their heads was completely unrealistic. disappointing. anyway, i cleaned turkey out in record time simply to end the ickiness.
the next morning, arabella stuck our hero in a huge bag filled with salt water. this is called brining for you who don't cook (hi, mama). i'm not sure how that went for her, but i imagine it was an amusing scene.
on thanksgiving morning, jeff and i arrived at arabella and shep's in the wee hours of the morning (8:30 am) to get started. arabella and i hefted reginald gerald out of his bath and cleaned him off. next, we rubbed him down with spices from williams sonoma. reginald gerald started looking kind of smug with all that expensive stuff on him, so we wrapped him, mummy style, in white wine and butter infused cheesecloth. that cheesecloth kept gerald reginald cozy for most of the morning - we just added white wine and butter occasionally to keep him comfortable.
at 1:30, we took him out and made sure he was hot enough, and discovered that arabella and i are excellent cooks. we'd like to thank all those who made it possible: willams, sonoma, martha, countless internet people who wrote about cooking turkeys, harris, teeter, and, of course, mr. reginald gerald turkey himself. it is for you that we are most thankful.