This blog post is an excerpt from the book, "Worst Case Scenario", that Tina Smyth, one of our tent specialists, received as a gift. This particular one is appropriate with the Thanksgiving holiday fast approaching. Read on to see many helpful tips to survive your turkey day.
"Well Folks, it’s that time again and you know me, it's time for some Thanksgiving Worst Case Scenario" advice, say Tina.
How to Serve Burnt Turkey
*Remove the skin and charred sections. Discard these burned parts.
*Slice the turkey and Pick out the scorched pieces. Usually the burned portion will be white (breast) meat, which has less fat. Discard it.
*Check the dark meat. Some dark meat may also be severely overcooked. Pick out the moist sections and put them on a platter that has been warmed in the oven. Cover and set aside.
*Moisten dry dark meat. Layer the salvaged but dry dark meat in a roasting pan. Soak it with several cups of chicken broth and melted butter. Cover it with a cloth and put it in a warm oven (make sure the oven is turned off). Let the meat rest for a few minutes. Drain and remove meat from pan and place on serving tray. Do not use a microwave to warm the meat or the meat will toughen.
*Fatten the gravy. Add one stick of butter to a boiling pot of gravy, let the butter melt, and allow the gravy to cool to serving temperature. Pour the mixture over the turkey after it has been carved.
*Make turkey hash. If all else fails, chop the meat, toss with potatoes and bacon, and offer your guests turkey hash. Tell them it’s an old family tradition. Serve with large glasses of water."
As a side note Tina suggests " Serving a burn turkey on a gorgeous linen like Fire Orange Crinkle, seen above, and a beautiful table setting display, may make the burnt turkey go over better than expected!"
How to Keep a Turkey Moist During Cooking
*Soak the bird overnight in brine. To make brine, dissolve one pound of salt per gallon of water; it should be as salty as seawater. Put the mixture in a large bucket (use plastic to avoid any metallic taste). Cover and leave the bird outside to keep it cool. If the temperature is above 50° F or well below 32° F, keep it refrigerated instead.
*Remove the legs of the turkey before cooking it. Dark meat takes longer to cook than white meat, so cook the legs separately from the body. If you want to leave them on, cut the skin between the breast and the legs and spread them out, away from the abdomen, to expose more of the leg to heat.
*Cook the turkey breast-side down. Cooking breast-side down will cause the juices to run down the sides and baste the breasts. Flip it over just before removing from the oven to crisp the skin.
HOW TO REPURPOSE A FRUITCAKE
Turn the fruitcake into another dessert. Do not serve the fruitcake as is. Slice it very thin, tear the pieces apart, and use them in an English trifle, a dessert made with alternating layers of cake (née fruitcake), custard, whipped cream, and, sometimes, fresh fruit. Serve in a deep glass bowl (often called a trifle bowl).
Use the fruitcake as a doorstop. Fruitcakes are very hardy and will last for years. Use the fruitcake to prop open a door.
Use the fruitcake to prevent your car from rolling. When parked on a hill, wedge the fruitcake under the downhill side of a rear tire. In your garage, position the fruitcake on the floor as a tire stop to prevent the car from hitting the garage wall.
Use the fruitcake as a dumbbell. A good-size fruitcake may weigh several pounds. Incorporate it into your exercise routine, holding it firmly for arm curls, or squeezing it between the feet for leg lifts.
Use the fruitcake in a carnival game. Collect fruitcakes and stack them vertically in a pyramid. Using tennis balls, try to knock down the fruitcakes in five throws.
Use as bookends. Set up two fruitcakes either horizontally or vertically, depending on the size of the books.
Use as art. Bolt a fruitcake to a painted board, frame it and hang it on your wall, or simply place it on a pedestal. Position the fruitcake in a well-lit area.
Use the fruitcake as compost. Fruitcakes are made of (mostly) organic material, and make good fertilizer. However, it may take several years for the fruitcake to decompose.
How to Safely Eat a Fruitcake
Slice it thin. Cut the fruitcake into narrow slices—no more than 3 ⁄8 inch—while the cake is cool. Place the slices on a serving platter, cover, and allow to come to room temperature.
Check the knife. After cutting, the blade should be somewhat sticky and slightly colored. If the knife does not have to be wiped with a damp cloth after each cut, the cake is too dry, and a healthy dollop of whipped cream will be necessary. If the knife is heavily streaked with cake ingredients after cutting, the fruitcake has not been baked long enough and may need to be repurposed.
Disguise the taste. Cover with lots of ice cream and whipped cream. Wash the fruitcake down with strong black coffee, Irish coffee, brandy, or a hot toddy.
Swallow without chewing. Cut the slice into small pieces. Swallow each piece whole, as you would a vitamin. If chewing is necessary, use your molars, not your front teeth or incisors, and try not to touch the food with your tongue, which has all your taste buds.
• Do not be fooled by a gift of a “Yule cake,” “Christmas ring,” or “dried fruit bread”—these are just other names for a fruitcake.
• If the fruitcake is very dark in color, it contains lots of molasses and corn syrup, making it exceedingly sticky, thick, and dense. The heavier the fruitcake, the more candied fruit and dark molasses it has. The darker or heavier the fruitcake, the more difficult it will be to swallow.
• A light-colored fruitcake is a good sign; the cake has plenty of batter and light corn syrup.
• Fruitcake should be stored in a cool place, such as a refrigerator or cellar. If kept cool and in a tin, the cake will last for at least a year, and you can give it as a present the following Christmas.
Tina leaves us with this one last note, "I hope everyone has enjoyed this as much as I have. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday from our family here at US Tent Rental AND Linens by the Sea, to yours."
About the Authors
Joshua Piven is a computer journalist, freelance writer, and co-author of all the Worst-Case Scenario handbooks. He has been robbed, mugged, chased by knife-wielding motorcycle bandits, and stuck in subway tunnels. He and his family live in Philadelphia.
David Borgenicht is the publisher of Quirk Books (www.quirkbooks.com) and co-author of all the books in the Worst-Case Scenario series. He has ridden in heavily-armored vehicles in Pakistan, stowed away on Amtrak, been conned by a grifter, and survived encounters with mountain lions, alligators, barracudas, and Al Roker. He lives in Philadelphia with his family.
Brenda Brown is an illustrator and cartoonist whose work has been published in many books and publications, including the Worst-Case Scenario series, Esquire, Reader’s Digest, USA Weekend, 21st Century Science & Technology, the Saturday Evening Post, and the National Enquirer. Her website is www.webtoon.com.
James Grace is coauthor of The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Golf.
Sarah Jordan is coauthor of The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Parenting and The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Weddings.
Piers Marchant is coauthor of The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Life and The Worst-Case Scenario Almanac: History.
Jennifer Worick is coauthor of The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: College and The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Dating & Sex.