Remember when you were a child and your mom guilt-tripped you into eating bad food because “there are starving children in Africa”? That gambit always seemed to work despite the inherent logistical challenges behind shipping the limp broccoli from your plate to needy children on the other side of the globe. The monstrosity that we created, however, would have turned even the hungriest of stomachs.
I’m referring, of course, to the turducken.
If cooking this beast were a scene in an award-winning movie, the moment we opened the oven would have been the perfect time for someone to fearfully blurt out, “We were wrong — we were so wrong!” as the scene ominously fades to black.
There were only three of us on the day it happened: me and two friends I’ve known long enough to con into embarking on this horrible journey with me. Kitty supplied the oven. Hunter supplied the drinks. I brought the bird as a sign of camaraderie and horrible financial decisions that I would later regret.
We’ve speculated that perhaps our first mistake was buying our frozen turducken from a brand with the words “big” and “easy” in the title. (Clearly this assumption ignores the fact that trying to cook any sort of frozen “bird-ception” was probably a flawed plan from the start).
In all fairness, this was the “economy” version of a turducken, consisting of ground duck, chicken and seasoned sausage all shoved into something resembling a turkey. The “real” version of the frozen tri-bird medley would have taken three people to lift, an industrial sized oven to cook, and would have required financial backing from Mitt Romney to afford.
Our final mistake was that we seriously miscalculated how long it would take to cook three frozen birds. We all showed up around 7 p.m., ravenously hungry and ready to try a grocery store delicacy, unaware of the three-hour cook time clearly labeled in size zero font on the bottom left corner of the box.
Being the patient, creative and woefully poor college students that we are, we tried to defrost the beast in a centuries-old microwave before giving up and throwing it in the oven for an eternity. It should have been a red flag that we were instructed not to remove the plastic covering, probably to allow the cancer to cook directly into the food. Giving into insatiable hunger, we made the unanimous decision to leave the bubbling mess of meat in the oven and go to the store to buy food and, more importantly, beer — which was vital if we expected to be able to pretend to enjoy the final product.
Upon returning we were first struck by the smell. Something between a chronically unwashed kitchen and a decomposing carcass would probably be an accurate description, though it’s less scarring to avoid specifics. Needless to say we proceeded to open all the windows and our beer in an attempt to ignore the evil that was growing in the kitchen.
After another hour of occasionally checking the oven and watching American Horror Story (which, by the way, is possibly one of the worst things to watch in the dark), we finally heard an ominous ding as the oven frantically tried to eject the disgusting mess.
The result, after the demonic-looking steam cleared, was a leathery football-esque mass of meat. Cutting through the exterior took the sharpest knife available and was reminiscent of sawing lumber, if lumber smelled like death and turkey. In retrospect we may have cooked it too long, because the stuffing held the consistency of lumpy sand and any intended flavor seemed to have dried up long ago.
Kitty made the questionable decision to try the first bite, resulting in a face like someone who’s just witnessed a horrible atrocity. Hunter, seeing the grimace, chose to make egg rolls instead, leaving me to curiously suffer through my one and only bite.
On the plus side, I now know I would have been a great Fear Factor contestant — though on the other hand, I now regret spending my entire column paycheck on this abomination.
So in an attempt to own up to our cooking mistakes and take responsibility for the disgusting pile of “meat” currently residing in a baking pan, we came up with a reasonable solution to ensure that the turducken could never again threaten mankind.
Basically we hid it in the apartment across the hall, never to be seen again until it starts to smell and they discover our crime.
In the end, we had learned no valuable lessons from the experience, save for a better sense of caution regarding what we allow into our kitchens. We can only hope the turducken doesn’t choose to haunt the apartment next door as viciously as it continues to haunt our taste buds.