I stand 5ft2inches in my stockinged feet. Knee-high to a grasshopper, my granddad said. Bumps her arse when she steps off the sidewalk, my dad said. The bird must have been about half my height. And he was weighty with it. Almost 4kgs; more than my daughter’s birth-weight.

My husband suggested, this past weekend, I do a trial run of Christmas lunch; two of our expected guests are chefs and I have never cooked a turkey before. I emailed, telephoned, Facebooked, consulted all my books … I was well-informed and ready.

My stuffing was a thing of great beauty: the innards of a lovely brown loaf, cranberries, onions, herbs and brandy … things were looking good. But holding four kilograms of chilly, naked Mister T with one hand proved a trial; he wouldn’t stay still; as I stuffed he slid around until there was nothing for it but to hug him to my chest while I filled his cavity.

Quite dirty by now, I took handfuls of pineapple jam and chopped ginger and gave his skin a good rubbing, then studded him with plums. Into the oven he went, with my perfectly calculated weight-per-minute roasting time calculations.

With great excitement we carved up and served. With great regret we discussed Plan B for Christmas lunch.  The turkey was fine; moist and tasty. But it was just fine. And I want something more than fine for Christmas.

I know what wine we’ll have with dessert though …

Aletta from TASTE magazine says: “If the reds were girls, the Cape Jazz would have to be the slutty one… it goes with everything!”


38 thoughts on “TURKEY SCHMURKEY

  1. I can’t imagine you cooking anything that is just fine! Your palette has probably become uber fussy!! Looked good and loved the way you had to hug the big bird!!

  2. Wondering about how you prepared the turkey…did you brim it first…rub under the skin with spices and/or butter prior to baking…just wondering about those things since I did not see them mentioned in your post…oh…well off to bed in a few. 🙂

  3. Too bad about the turkey – just fine would have been fine with me, but then I’m no chef… I would have thought, though, with that stuffing you’d have come out with an over-the-top turkey. Shame on him for not cooperating. Maybe he’s not the ‘huggy’ kind? 😉

  4. Well done for having the patience to do a not so dry run! My experience of mr T’s is quite extensive. I have cooked one each Christmas for about 25 years – and have tried all sorts of recipes – i have even encase the whole bird in a salt dough one year!!!! I need a concrete mixer to make the dough!!! But of all of the recipes Mr T’s seem to respond to slow – over night cooking with all of the traditional seasonings – chestnut pork sage and cranberry stuffing with bunches of herbs of the sage – thyme and rosemary variety – wrap the whole bird in bacon and then in tin foil – which keeps all the juices in – bung it into a hot hot oven for about an hour – then go to bed and turn it down to abour 80 degrees and leave it! Traditional seems to taste best – bread sauce by the bucket loads with roast tatties and veggies ………….. sigh! i love christmas lunch! xxxxxx

  5. I’m not a turkey fan at all, thank goodness I don’t have to bother with anything this year as we are doing a Darby & Joan 🙂

  6. Never thought I’d join you one day for all-star turkey wrestling, Cindy. I have a feeling it must have added immeasurably to the flavour….

    As for turkey, I think English tastes may be a bit tame: we always go for Delia, who is classic and safe. What does Nigella do with her turkeys? I’m off to her site to see if she indulges in turkey-wrestling too.

  7. Kate got there first, but I had already found the link for you!


    In my humble opinion the thing that makes a turkey great is the following list:

    good sausage meat stuffing, possibly with chestnuts, bacon and sausage rolls to serve on the side, a good flavoured bread sauce and excellent gravy made from the giblets. Oh, and cranberry sauce. And sprouts. And parmesan parsnips.

  8. Looks like a comment I’ve made has disappeared… perhaps for moderation!

    I also posted about your chicken and chorizo recipe BTW

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