Monday, October 17, 2011
Food poisoning is a fact of life when you live overseas. Bodily functions become an accepted topic of conversation. In that way, moving overseas is kind of like having a baby.
Thing is, though, that the food poisoning is supposed to happen outside your home. Not in your own kitchen. And certainly not in conjunction with a meal that you slaved over.
We bought a turkey last year during the commissary's pre-holiday order. I got the smallest one they had - about a 12-pounder. Overwhelmed at the idea of so many leftovers (and not being a huge fan of turkey, myself), I never cooked it. We had duck instead. My plan was to have a "Thanksgiving in February" party, since I believe February is really the crappiest month here in Moscow (and in lots of places, come to think of it). That never happened, either. So the turkey sat in the freezer, month after month, while I worried about the fact that it was likely going to go bad by the time we could use it. I hate wasting food.
But last week, I asked Chef Google what he thought about cooking a turkey that had been frozen for a year. Surprisingly, he told me it would be just fine. Apparently you could roast a turkey that has spent double or triple that time in the deep freeze, too. Just letting you know in case you've got one taking up room in your freezer, too.
So today we roasted it. I've only roasted a turkey twice in my life. The first time was when my Juneau roommates and I hosted Thanksgiving at our house. Wishing to take full advantage of our double oven, Korry and I decided that we would each fix a turkey. Mine somehow turned out simultaneously raw and burned. Korry's saved the day.
The second time was when I hosted Thanksgiving for the singles in Yerevan in 2006. My friend rubbed the turkey with some kind of magic spice blend, stuck a meat thermometer in it and put it in my oven. All I did was take it out and carve it. So, though it was a success, I don't think it was my success.
Anyway, I was a bit nervous about this turkey, not least of all because the "packaged on" date was from about the time of last year's forest fires.
I found this recipe online. It brilliantly suggests roasting the bird breast-side down. That way, all the fat flows into the breast, making it pretty much impossible to end up with dry white meat. The downside is that the skin over the breast doesn't become brown, but you can fix that problem by flipping the turkey over after the meat is done and browning the breast for a few minutes. I was too lazy to do that, though. I did cook the bird to the recommended temperature using a meat thermometer that was inserted into the fattest part of the breast and thigh - not touching the bone.
And yet ... J woke up at 4 a.m. puking. I followed suit a few hours later. And poor little Z has been clutching her belly a bit while playing. Only N is unscathed. I was so frustrated that she refused to eat last night, but I guess she was smarter than the rest of us.
I can't be 100 percent positive that it was the turkey that did it, but this sure feels like food poisoning. I had taken a photo of the roasted bird in all its glory last night with intentions of posting it online. But now that you know what it did to us, I feel like the photo would be misplaced, somehow.
At least now I don't have to worry about what to do with the rest of the leftovers.