As the reigning matriarch of the Sous Chef’s side of the family, “Grammy” is the quintessential Italian grandmother – a feisty spark-plug of a woman who pushes meatballs at the kitchen table like a dealer pushes cocaine at the street corner. She’s a total sweetheart who readily gives away crocheted potholders and perfume samples, says the secret to her beautiful 91-year-old complexion is Noxema, and has been known to join a kickline while her son sings “New York, New York” on the karaoke machine.
So Thanksgiving at Grammy’s is actually pretty cool.
And this is how it always starts:
What, your Thanksgiving doesn’t typically begin by hanging a bird carcass from the garage door opener so the brining liquid can drip onto paper grocery bags?
Sorry, my mistake.
I suppose I should have informed you earlier that the Sous Chef’s family fries its Thanksgiving turkey. Yes, fries. As in “deeply, in a pit of oily goodness”. Hence the air-drying – because hot oil and water tend to quibble.
After the turkey is sufficiently dry, two lucky people are chosen to be the official Turkey Lowerers. On a side note, the year I was officially welcomed into the family, I was given this duty. It was a Big Deal.
Rule #1: Lower the turkey slowly and carefully. No matter how long that turkey is hanging out in the garage, there’s always some residual water on the outside, which means there’s always some splittering and splattering going on at the beginning of the swim:
|Left: Initial splittering and splattering. Right: Bubbling oily swim meet.|
|Portrait of Holiday Safety: Please note the fire extinguisher sitting at the base of the umbrella (which acted as a westerly wind-blocker that sunny day). Also note the child to the left, kept at a safe distance from an oily demise.|
This may seem like a lot of work, and/or simply insane (check out The Momalog’s tale of turkey-frying terror), but it’s well worth it when you get a finished product that looks like this: