Cooking my First Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner!

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With the endless Thanksgiving and Black Friday radio adverts, it dawned on me I am a #turkeyvirgin! I have never cooked a roast turkey before as one of my family members usually prepares them for Christmas dinner. In the absence of our chef who is on leave, I have stepped in as crew cook and have been loving it! This year, M/Y Solaia has a Christmas charter booked in the Caribbean so we will be working ensuring that our guests have a magical Christmas. As such, I had to seize the opportunity to get festive and decided to cook a Thanksgiving turkey dinner for our skeletal crew of four who are my USA family surrogates.

On Wednesday, I set off in the crew car to purchase the ingredients at Publix. Luckily there were numerous yacht crew shopping for the same things so I got an idea of what should be in my trolley such as a large disposable foil tray to cook the turkey in (genius). After negotiating trolley traffic along the isles, I headed to the cashier who was slightly concerned that I was only buying a frozen turkey the afternoon before thanksgiving. Apparently, I should have been defrosting my turkey for a couple of days in advance (my bad). I kindly thanked her for her concern and advice and rushed back to the boat to submerge the packaged turkey in cool water overnight.

On Thursday morning, I checked on the swimming bird to discover that it was defrosted which was a great start to my #turkeyvirgin day. Initially, I was a bit intimidated by the oversized bird that sat in front of me. I read the cooking instructions on the turkey’s packaging about five times but was not convinced so I turned to Google for some assistance. Visions of Mr Bean running around with a turkey stuck on his head and snippets from Thanksgiving episodes of How I Met Your Mother lingered at the back of my mind accentuating my anxiety about tackling this turkey. As a social media addict, I recorded each step of my #turkeyvirgin experience on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Luckily, I found some support and helpful links from friends back home. I used the following articles to guide me through my #turkeyvirgin experience:

Your Guide to the Ultimate Thanksgiving Turkey: 9 Truths About Turkey Roasting + Recipe

and

How to Cook a Turkey: The Simplest, Easiest Method

Thank goodness for these guides as I would cooked the turkey upside down with the stuffing in the bird and probably would have landed up with a dry sad looking roast. Thank you, Google!

My Thanksgiving turkey behaved and cooked to a golden brown as I basted it every 45 minutes and kept an eye on the clock. I then realized that I hadn’t even thought about the stuffing so quickly found an online Betty Crocker style recipe and luckily I had bought the necessary ingredients already. It is a sin how much butter goes into this stuffing but that’s why it’s so tasty!

I continued to cook up a storm in the galley and made roast potatoes with rosemary, peas and carrots, corn, an Italian style Christmas coloured salad and a far too salty gravy (gravy making has never been one of my strengths). Thankfully, I found an already made pumpkin pie at Publix which could be served with some ice-cream. Beginners luck was definitely on my side as everything turned out perfectly delicious (except the gravy).

As the end of the work day approached, I set the crew mess table with some make-do decor including a mini pumpkin and some fake tea-light candles (yacht smoke alarms). The engineer had been invited to another Thanksgiving dinner so that left Captain Ian, deckhand Mini and dayworker, Mike. The captain kindly carved the turkey while we sipped on some Chilean red wine and began our Thanksgiving feast. Hilarious conversation, great food (yes, I’m claiming it) with some beers and wine made the perfectly relaxed Thanksgiving dinner. After my successful #turkeyvirgin day, I slipped into a food and wine coma on the crew mess couch with a smile on my face.

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