How NOT to Fry a Turkey
or… My in-laws did what?
I love my wife dearly. She is a paragon of dedication, powerhouse management, and ethics. She is amazing… I think she was adopted.
Our normal yearly routine is to spend Thanksgiving with her family in the Austin area, while spending Christmas with my family here in Port Arthur. Remind me to tell you about the dangers of Christmas at my place. Anyway, we generally have a standing invitation at my wife’s grandmother’s (mainly because we are quiet). So we stayed there on that fateful Thanksgiving holiday.
Thanksgiving dinner was scheduled for 12:30 on Thanksgiving day. However, in mother-in-law time that means we would be eating about 3:30 on Friday. The year before she had only taken the turkey out for defrosting on Wednesday… sigh. With that in mind, there was no rush to get there.
BTW: If you’re going to drive in the crash-up-derby-disguised-as-a-modern-city of Austin, I highly recommend Thanksgiving morning about 11ish. I don’t think we even saw another car.
We arrive to pandemonium. Everything was fine, that’s just the natural state of affairs at the in-law’s place. They rent an approximately 7500 square foot house, but can’t afford a TV or a couch. I won’t discuss their ‘new’ car. [OK, I will discuss it. It’s a 1989 Mercury Cougar. It’s the NEW car. Wow.]
Myself and the other husband…
Let me digress and describe my wife’s family. She is the second oldest of seven. One of which is male. The youngest was five when I married into the family… she’s driving now (sigh). The first two children are happily married with families. The next two (including the male) are divorced from… ummm… interesting spouses. The next two have some serious boyfriends and may or may not be happy, but they seem to be relatively organized about their life (unlike the middle two). The final child is in her own category because she BETTER NOT be seriously involved yet! I have guns and I know how to use them… get the picture, Cat?
Resume story… – the ‘other husband’ and I do our customary sit back with big grins and observe the festivities. Get involved? Are you insane? This is way too much fun.
My Mother-in-Law attempts to convince everyone that she knows what’s going on and is in complete control. Everyone else, of course, doesn’t believe her and is attempting to install some sense of order into the… planned event. The two oldest have homes (and children now) and actually do have some idea how to perform various kitchen related functions. However, getting your parents to do something is kind of like trying to protect the Titanic with a hair-dryer. The ice-berg will melt, but I predict the heat death of the universe before it does. [Extra points for anyone who understands what ‘heat death of the universe’ means.]
We’re sitting, making snide comments, and discussing PCs, when we hear something frightening. I turn to him and I see the same questioning/fearful look in his eyes. “Did she say ‘Fry the turkey’?” We both immediately have the same reaction. We pull out our insurance cards and verify that they are A) up to date and B) our wives are on them.
Then we run to the bar and peak over, into the kitchen. My mother-in-law has about a 60 pound turkey hanging over what appears to be a 5 quart sauce pan on her gas stove. The oil fills about 3/4 of the pot and appears to be quite warm. I scan the counter… it’s what I feared. Vegetable oil. Not only are we about to die… it won’t even be quick.
She begins lowering the gargantuan bird into the oil. Once the first half inch of the animal is in, the oil is at the lip of the pot. Fortunately, she has realized that there appears to be an issue and pauses her lowering action. My father-in-law begins to berate her. My wife is scrambling for a fire extinguisher. I’m seriously considering Taco Bell.
My mother-in-law says, “it fit when I tried it yesterday”, at which point everyone (including the two year old) shouts, “There wasn’t oil in the pot yesterday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
“Well, I looked for the bigger pot, but it wasn’t in the garage.” I look at my counterpart, “What the hell?” our expressions say.
Our father-in-law shouts something about the pot being in the oven. Again with the “What the hell?” look.
The youngest (at this point, a teenager or so close it makes no difference) lunges between mother’s legs and opens the oven to look for the mythical “Bigger Pot of Turkmanistan”. [I don’t know why, but the name ‘Turkmanistan’ always sounded funny to me.] There’s a 300 pound turkey (the bottom inch of which is beginning to char) hanging over 4 quarts of vegetable oil that is quite obviously at the smoke point all within 12 inches of the cutest little teenager since Gidgette (more extra points folks… don’t say I never gave you a chance).
It amazes me to this day that no one went to the hospital.
I’ll be honest and say that I have no recollection of what we ate for Thanksgiving dinner, but I highly suspect that it wasn’t turkey.
BTW: I have left out the names, even though the story would flow better. It’s not that I fear them… I have access to way more firepower than they do (even if they call in the psychopathic, national guard, ex-husband). However, they are family and they’re my family.