Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Turkey a la Death

Where to begin?

How about with the contradictory instructions “DO NOT DEFROST” for microwaving a frozen turkey. If you willfully (and suicidally) ignore this warning, then go ahead and defrost it at medium-high power for 16 – 18 minutes per lb. Or you could do it for 5 – 6 minutes per pound (even more deadly), according to the instructions at the top of the page.

Or, we could just go with the obvious admonition not to put metal in the microwave, something the instructions in the middle of the page appear to ignore. Foil isn’t metal, is it? Oh, it is? How about the “small metal clasp” that the instructions advise leaving in “because of the large mass of food”? So metal buried inside the food is OK?

Maybe we could draw attention to the mysterious “browning agent” mentioned at the top right. It should be noted that a “browning agent” here is neither butter nor oil, which are the traditional browning agents for basting poultry. Sounds carcinogenic.

There is always the troubling idea that the inside of the defrosted turkey “may still be a bit icy” before it is cooked, which the lower illustration shows. (You cannot remove the giblets and neck by running cold water into a turkey, by the way; you have to actually reach into the bird’s body cavity and pull them out.) One wonders how such a thing might interfere with overall cooking times, not to mention cultivating a memorable case of salmonella.

The best thing to do is to AVOID PUTTING A TURKEY INTO A MICROWAVE OVEN TO BEGIN WITH, YOU IDIOT. Sure, you can stuff a turkey into a conventional oven and cook it overnight on low, or all day on medium. You can brine it. You can buy it fresh so that it’s not frozen solid. You can fry it or smoke it and burn your whole house down if you like, but please, PLEASE, do not try to cram a frozen turkey into a microwave oven and expect to come out alive.

The turkey’s had it; it’s deceased, has no hope of a future of any kind. Its head has been lopped off, its innards plucked out, its feet severed, and it has been completely plucked. It is dead. It ain’t going nowhere. It has bit the dust. It is, to borrow a familiar turn of phrase, a former turkey. It probably had a short, miserable, cramped, brightly lit life which is now over. Its mother was artificially inseminated because the genetically engineered breasts of its parents were so large its Daddy could not mate with its Mommy. You, however, and your entire family, probably want to see tomorrow. You might even want to eat leftovers. So do yourself and them a favor and seal the microwave up with bright yellow CAUTION DO NOT CROSS tape and step away.

Microwave Cooking Guide, O’Keefe and Merritt

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