Thanksgiving 1962. I was in college in Iowa, my first year away from home for the holiday. My parents lived on the East coast, and didnt have the money to fly me home. And I wasnt about to spend two days on the train for two days at home.
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What to do?
My sister, married a little over two years, lived in Cleveland with her medical-student husband. So it was agreed that I would spend Thanksgiving with them.
Now keep in mind that this was ten years before I discovered the pleasures of cooking. And my sister, to this day, never has.
So we got busy on Thanksgiving morning. With the help of four SOS phone calls to Mom, we managed to stuff and roast the bird without too many disasters. Yeah, Mom had advised us to put a clean tea-towel over the top of the bird to prevent premature browning but had neglected to tell us when to remove it, so we had a charred towel to chip off the bird. And the mashies were a bit lumpy. But there were no real horror stories.
Well... there was one, sort of.
We wanted to slide the roasting pan out far enough to baste the beast, so we opened the oven door, pulled the pan out onto it... and the hinges gave way, the door flipped down flat against the stove, and said bird clattered onto the floor and skittered across it, coming to rest under the dinette table. But other than that...
Wait - there was one more.
We had no idea how to remove the turkey from the pan onto the carving board. I mean, it was slippery and regrettably lacking in handles. So we stabbed it through the stuffing with a serving fork and between the two of us, wrestled it out of the pan. And just as we were lowering it gently onto the board, the cooked meat gave way over the fork and it fell with a thud. This was a very well-traveled bird.
If only wed had a Cooking.com Stainless Steel Turkey/Roast Lifter Chain.
WHAT IT IS AND HOW TO USE IT
This is a stainless steel contraption designed to make it easy to lift the cooked beast out of the roasting pan and onto the carving board or serving platter.
It consists of two chains, about 19" each, connected at each end by a 5" stainless steel handle. Connecting the chains at the midway point is another piece of 5" stainless, to hold the chains parallel.
To use it, lay it across the roasting pan with the handles hanging over the edge. Put the bird on top of it. When roasting is done, simply grasp the handles and lift the bird out of the pan. If you use a roasting rack, the Cooking.com Stainless Steel Turkey/Roast Lifter Chain can be laid across it in the same manner.
WHAT I LIKE ABOUT IT
Its simple in design.
Its easy to wash; just put it in the small-items or silverware bin of your dishwasher, or scrub it with a stiff soapy dish brush. (I suggest washing, or at least soaking, it ASAP, before the fat and gunk can dry in the chain links.)
Its easy to store. I keep mine in a sandwich-sized zip-lock baggie so the chain doesnt get tangled with the other stuff in the drawer. You can also wrap a rubber band around it.
It works. Its effective. You can lift any size bird or roast out of the roasting pan with no muss, no fuss, no bother.
WHAT ID CHANGE ABOUT IT
The only warning associated with this item is that, because its conductive metal, it will get very hot in the oven. So be sure to use mitts or potholders when you handle it.
SUMMARY AND VERDICT
Ive seen this gadget for sale at Sur la Table, Target, Bed, Bath, & Beyond, and other places that sell kitchen tools. They are all priced within the same range - between $4.50 and $5.00.
This is such a simple, intuitive tool that Im surprised that its only been on the market for a few years. No more stabbing the bird with the fork, or trying to slide it sideways out of the pan and onto the carving board. This tool makes it easy to lift even the biggest turkey or roast easily and safely. Five stars.
ROAST TURKEY WITH CRANBERRY CORN BREAD STUFFING
Yes, this recipe does indeed have only three ingredients. But you can add whatever add-ons you like to the stuffing mix: celery, sausage, nuts, whatever. I usually add about half a cup of celery and a handful of toasted pine nuts or peeled hazelnuts. Also, fresh hens are the most moist, tender, and flavorful, but need to be ordered in advance. Toms are bigger, of course, and frozen will do if fresh isnt available.
two 16-oz. cans whole-berry cranberry sauce
one 14-oz bag corn bread stuffing mix, plus your add-ons
one 12-14-lb. turkey, giblets removed, rinsed and dried
Preheat the oven to 325°F.
In a non-reactive saucepan, bring 1½ cups of water to a boil.
Add one can of cranberry sauce and stir until melted and well combined.
Pour over the stuffing in a bowl and mix gently until stuffing is thoroughly moistened.
Season the stuffing and the cavity of the bird with salt and pepper.
Spoon the stuffing very loosely into the body and neck cavities.
Fold the loose skin over the stuffing and tie the drumsticks together.
Lay the Cooking.com Stainless Steel Turkey/Roast Lifter Chain over a rack in a large shallow roasting pan.
Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the breast or thigh, but dont let it touch bone.
Roast the turkey for two hours.
Spoon fat from the surface of the pan drippings and mix the remaining drippings with the second can of sauce.
Spoon the sauce over the turkey and continue roasting another 2 to 2½ hours, basting every 20 minutes, until the thermometer reads 170°F.
Remove from the oven and allow it to rest for 15 minutes before carving.
Use the Cooking.com Stainless Steel Turkey/Roast Lifter Chain to lift the turkey onto a carving board.
Remove the stuffing into a bowl and carve the turkey.
De-fat the pan drippings. Serve over stuffing and slices of turkey.
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