Not because it was big—we didn’t even have to put a leaf in the table—and not because it was easy—Thanksgiving never is for the hostess. It also wasn’t because we were enjoying a meal of turkey gumbo down in New Orleans, though I’d love to try that sometime.
“The Big Easy” Thanksgiving came about when I got a phone call from my dad earlier this week that started with, “A couple years ago I found this nifty roaster on clearance at Lowe’s and I’ve never even taken it out of the box so…”
I’m not a gadget girl, or a man, so I don’t understand the reasoning behind walking through a hardware store and seeing a large, awkward cooking contraption with a suspicious name like “The Big Easy” in the bargain bin and thinking, Hey, I don’t cook and that sweet thingamajig would probably come in handy about once every two years, so come to Daddy!
However, that’s how I ended up reading an instruction booklet at 11:49 the night before Thanksgiving and praying we had enough propane left in the BBQ tank to avoid being a contributor to the reasons why Walmart employees have to work on a national holiday.
The Big-But-Not-So-Easy instructions explained how the cooker had to be pre-seasoned before using it for the first time. It also listed a maximum capacity of 16 pounds. My plump 22-pound bird was going to have to either spend some time on the treadmill or suffer some dismemberment before morning.
I was already sooo tired.
I’d been cooking, cleaning and preparing for days. Why was I doing this? Standing out in the cold in the middle of the night fussing with an unfamiliar portable roasting gizmo for the most important meal of the year, when right in my warm kitchen was my trusty conventional oven I was confident could do the job?
Because it’s Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving is all about family and tradition, and a little torture. It’s about doing things you don’t like for people you love because you want the occasion to be nice. Dad seemed so excited about The Big Easy. I’m sure its compulsive purchase and useless existence thus far had been a sore subject between my parents, so what kind of daughter would I be if I didn’t try to help the situation by proving one of them wrong?
Either TBE would achieve the tastiest and juiciest poultry we’d ever eaten as the instructions boasted and vindicate Dad, or the bargain fire canister would blow up, char the bird, burn my house down and ruin Thanksgiving to make my mother happy.
We managed to get the roaster properly prepped and even squeeze the burly butterball in without any amputation. There was just enough propane between two dwindling tanks to produce a juicy, golden-brown bird just in time for dinner.
Was it the best turkey we’d ever tasted? Nah, but dad was pleased to find out his meat kiln really worked and Mom was glad my house didn’t burn down, so I say it was a win-win.
I hope your Thanksgiving was memorable too.