Tim Belford: Short Takes On Life
Tim Belford
Tim Belford
CBC logo
Tim Belford is host of Quebec A.M. -- CBC Radio's popular English- language morning show (91.7 FM, 6-9, Mon.-Fri). He also is said to know a thing or three about wine.

Posted 10.16.01
Quebec City


Faced with a 25 lb. turkey, I reached for...

I'm one of those people who like to cook.

But like any non-professional I have my moments of doubt.

You come across a recipe that looks terrific on paper but somewhere between the "add the first three ingredients and fold into the flour" everything goes wrong.

Well, I'm never going to be afraid again. I have met the ultimate challenge and come out bloody but unbowed.

It all started when the Love of My Life bought a turkey for Thanksgiving. We were heading to the in-laws and had volunteered to do the meal.

I don't know how she calculated how big a bird to purchase but it turned out that the nine of us - which included two small children - were allocated two point eight pounds per person.

That makes a bird of twenty-five pounds.

I don't know if you've ever come across a twenty-five pound turkey but let me tell you, this bird could have walked the forest primeval with little fear.

Carrying it from the car to my mother-in-law's kitchen I flirted with a hernia.

Then there was the question of the cooking vessel.

Using a quarter pound of grease, a spatula, three cedar shims, and my entire bulk, I managed to wedge it into a roasting pan.

Then, being very careful to bend and lift from the knees, I got it into the oven.

Now, conventional wisdom says fowl should be cooked for thirty minutes per pound.

This meant that my turkey, going into the oven at noon, would be done to a turn somewhere around midnight.

Throwing caution to the wind, I used an old recipe that called for high heat right from the start and a reduced oven time.

I did take the precaution of looking up the symptoms of trichinosis just in case.

Basting the bird was an entirely different matter.

Each time I removed it from the oven I assumed the same position that an Olympic weight lifter uses for the clean-and-jerk portion of the competition.

Once out of the oven, I used two hands to wedge the baster between the Bird That Devoured Brooklyn and the edge of the pan.

Little did I know, the real challenge was yet to come.

When the bird was done, and you'll forgive me for saying so, it was marvelous, the uncle stepped forward and said, "How are you going to get it out of the pan?"

I was at a loss. But this is where Thanksgiving and family mean so much.

I lopped off both the legs and the wings leaving the body of the bird resting on the rack inside the pan.

And the uncle, who is much smarter than I, reached in with a pair of vice grips and in one fell swoop lifted the rack and the bird to the platter.

So you see, as a cook I may not be Émeril Lagass&eacut;e but I have nothing to fear ever again.