The tradition in our family has always been to get the largest turkey we can so that everyone has lots of leftovers. On average, we number seven adults and two kids. Realistically, even a 22 to 24 pound bird doesn’t yield a lot of leftovers. Since its my turn to host this year, my solution is two turkeys. This will solve more than just the problem with the leftovers:
Problem 1 – Big turkeys don’t cook as well as smaller ones.
A few years ago we (as a family) got all jazzed up about cooking turkeys in oven bags. Turkeys cooked in an oven bag come out looking so pretty. They brown up beautifully and there is no basting necessary. The problem is we forget, from November to November, that the underside of the turkey never really cooks all the way through. This is probably not the bag’s fault but is more than likely directly related to the ginormous turkeys we get every year. So, by cooking two smaller turkeys we get more meat and more leftovers. Bonus points that since the primary purpose of one turkey is leftovers, both turkeys don’t have to be cooked on the same day. Hah!
Problem 2 – Two turkeys let me get away with a little variety in the stuffing department.
As a card carrying Libra, variety is practically my middle name. I love experimenting with menus but I am definitely related to some die hard traditionalists. The core T-day menu in our family has been the same as long as I can remember (roast turkey, Dad’s mashed potatoes, Mom’s stuffing, corn and brown-n-serve rolls). I have previously been informed that said menu is NOT TO BE MESSED WITH. As evidence, I give you an excerpt from a conversation I had with my Very Traditional Brother on the eve of my first Thanksgiving in Arizona:
Me: I think I’ll bring some broccoli casserole and a salad.
My brother (voice raising to alarmed status): Salad?? Kath, we never have salad on Thanksgiving!
Me: But, we could! We’re all adults and something green on the table would be refreshing.
My brother (voice wary but resigned): Well, you can bring salad. But I’m definitely not eating any.
I’ll bet you can guess what would happen if I suggested we try a wild rice/mushroom stuffing instead of the Traditional Mrs. Cubbison’s Stuffing that my mother makes every year. Actually I did suggest that and I was resoundingly vetoed. (Side note to Mom: I love you and your stuffing very much. xoxoxoxo)
So problem number 2 is solved with a second turkey that I can stuff with whatever I want. Two turkeys also means two turkey frames which directly solves…
Problem number 3 – I won’t have to arm wrestle my Dad for the turkey bones.
We’re a big soup family. Turkeys have big bones and make awesome broth. Usually there is some debate as to who can claim the turkey frame to make said soup. Although I can easily win if I promise to make soup and share, having two turkeys means it won’t be an issue. It also means I can dedicate one entire turkey frame (and its corresponding broth and leftover meat) to my much beloved gumbo recipe. Score!
So, there you have it. I believe that two 12 to 15 pound birds will accomplish everything I want this year. What about you? What are the turkey traditions in your family?