Unhinged Alaska: Murder most fowl on the Butterball Express

What is it about turkeys that cause so much chaos around the holidays?

Some people go ape trying to figure out the perfect way to cook them. Others blow mental fuses because they believe reprobate omnivores should be munching on tofu turkenstiens stuffed with various multi colored fungi while knocking back double shots of tryptophan to ease themselves into a semi coma before the aftertaste kicks in.

Chill, I have nothing against veggivores unless they get preachy about my lifestyle. Take for instance a trifling incident the other day at a grocery store.

I had just loaded a beautiful 22-pound hen into the shopping cart when a lady, decked out in attire that she could probably roll into fire-starter kindling if she defoliated it properly, approached and snorted, “Don’t you feel guilty about what happened to that poor bird?”

“Not really,” I said. “It was already dead when I got here. By the way, do you know where they keep the young Cornish game hens?”

She turned redder than spawning sockeye and, for a moment, I thought she was going to whack me with her palate numbing, tofu stuffed, eggplant baguette.

Fortunately, she regained her composure and huffed off toward the Totally Organic and Awe-Inspiringly Overpriced Plant-Based Consumables aisle.

I must admit that she did make me feel a bit guilty so I gave the bird a full week to make a run for it while it was thawing in the basement fridge and then one last strong chest thump before slipping it into the oven.

Smooth segue to cooking section:

Being a country kid, I’ve never been around people who couldn’t roast a turkey to perfection. But according to the Butterball hot-line operating during the holidays, there are folks out there who have less active brains cells than the giblets of the entree they are endeavoring to prepare.

The following are some genuine inquires. The responses are mine, not the Butterball folks.

“I need to defrost my turkey, but it doesn’t fit in my refrigerator. I do however have a hot tub in my backyard. Could I use that for a quick defrost?”

Think back to who or what has spent some serious time soaking in that tub.

That’s a marinating/thawing technique best left untested — or even considered, come to think of it.

“How do I carve a turkey when all of its bones have been broken?”

The question was posed by a guy who called in all stressed out because the turkey he bought was too big for his oven so the dude decided to wrap it in a towel, take it outside and stomp the hell out of it until it finally fit into the stove.

I would have suggested that he have someone else do the slicing and stay away from anything sharp until he seeks therapy for anger management issues.

“Your directions say to roast the turkey, but my oven says only bake or broil; how do I set it?”

It would be safer for everyone involved if you just took everyone out for dinner.

“What do I do if one of the turkey’s legs is dark meat and the other white?”

Dial back your dinner-prep wine consumption and take another look.

“Why does my turkey have no breast meat?”

After some delicate questioning, it turned out that cook’s turkey was lying on the table upside down.

Positive proof that there are those among us who are sporting the IQ of a block of Havarti cheese.

A woman called to find out how long it would take to roast her turkey. The answer personage asked how much the bird weighed. The woman responded, “I don’t know, it’s still running around outside.”

One guy wanted to know if he could use his oven’s self-cleaning cycle to speed up the cooking process.

A self-cleaning oven uses a high temperature of 900 degrees Fahrenheit to burn off cooking residue so there probably wouldn’t be much of a chance for leftovers. It’s also doubtful that he or his guests wouldn’t be totally thrilled with the prospect of snorting what’s left of the main entree either.

I can’t end this without mentioning the wannabee chef that called in deeply concerned about her turkey that had been in the oven for several hours.

The hot-line counselor asked “What state is your turkey in now?”

After a short pause, a quiet voice answered, “Florida.”

My compliments to those patient souls manning the phones because I’m sure that they’ve come across even scarier personages that shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near cooking utensils much less a kitchen.

The only advice I can offer them is to ask to speak to someone else in the area and when they answer, whisper, “Run” and hang up.

As for me, I’m a very lucky guy. Our turkey continues to be roasted to perfection following an ancient recipie developed by the women of the Varney clan eons ago. We hand the bird to our wives and then stay out of the kitchen because they have instant access to various cutlery and can be very territorial this time of the year.

Nick can be reached at ncvarney@gmail.com if he isn’t out hunting and gathering with his Visa card.

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