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A feast as easy as pie (despite the slippery turkey)


The Bright Side: Joe Bushue

I was looking forward to the challenge. It couldn’t be that hard. After all, Mom and Grandma made it look so easy .It was our turn to have Thanksgiving, and the turkey was my responsibility. I was going to make this one look like the one in the Norman Rockwell painting, and be as moist as any that Grandma made.

First thing, I went out and purchased a 20-pound frozen turkey a few days before the holiday. I looked at it and thought there was no way it would thaw in time to cook it. In doing what I thought was pretty quick and original thinking, I filled the bath tub with warm water water and floated the frozen turkey in the tub (something I learned later you probably shouldn’t do). My idea worked, and by the next day, the turkey was ready to meet its fate. So far so good, and I was filled with confidence that this would be a simple task.

I had never cooked a turkey before, so I relied on the directions I found in a cookbook. First, wash the turkey after removing the bag inside. No problem — I placed it in the sink and gave it a good bath. So far so good.

Next, it said to coat the turkey in oil or butter. Wanting to make sure this turkey was good and moist, my best chef instincts told me to use both. So after slathering it with both until it was glimmering like a new penny, I was feeling cocky, thinking this really was easy. Then came the third step. It said to gently put the dressing into the turkey.

After I had already greased that bird up so it was slicker than the sidewalk after a wicked winter ice storm, I found out there was no gentle way to add the dressing. With every time I pushed the dressing in, the more that slick bird would do its own private dance in that baking pan. I thought I would simply balance it with one hand while using the other to shove the dressing in. Should work fine ... you’d think.

By about the third “gentle” shove, the greased bird slid right out the pan and onto the floor. It skipped about three times, like a stone on a flat pond. Because of the “five second rule,” I somehow was able to pick up the slick runaway bird and put it back into the baking pan. I added the rest of the dressing.

Now I knew why they said gently. With everything finally done, I put the bird in the oven. After all, a turkey is easy to cook, or at least that’s what I’ve been told. In the end, it turned out pretty good!

I guess I’d already gained a false sense of confidence the day before when I made the candied yams. I'd boiled the orange spuds so I could cut them and arrange them into the large glass baking dish. I added the brown sugar and butter and baked them in the oven, then topped it with the marshmallows so they browned to make a dish even Martha Stewart would approve of.

I was pretty proud of my creation. All I had to do was pop it in the microwave and heat it up for the big dinner. When it came time to do that, I realized that the glass baking dish was way too large to fit into the microwave. So much for the way the dish looked.

I won’t even talk about how you should always brown the bottom crust of a pumpkin pie. All in all, the dinner turned to be pretty good. Maybe it was all the family that was around, or the realization of everything we had to be thankful for.

Be more thankful for how easy Mom and Grandma made it look. Be thankful it’s not your turn. Just be thankful!

Happy Thanksgiving.

Joe Bushue is a travel agent and lifelong Gresham resident who has been tolerating multiple sclerosis for 30-plus years. His column recounts some of the humorous sides of his disability and his slants on life in general. Reach him by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..