Last week I fell prey to the Costco Fallacy.
The Costco Fallacy goes like this. On your shopping list is 10 pounds of apples (because you like apples, and you might make some applesauce). You get to the store, and you discover that apples are $3/pound, but a 35-pound box of apples is only $40. 10 pounds of apples for $30 vs. 35 pounds of apples for $40?? What kind of idiot would pass that up?
And the next thing you know it, you’ve got 35 pounds of apples in your kitchen, and the rest of your day gets spent making 24 pints of applesauce. And now you need to convince all your friends that they really want applesauce, because there’s no way you’re going to eat all that applesauce in the next year. So for just $10 extra, you’ve wasted half a day making applesauce you then have to find recipients for, but hey, at least you got a good deal on apples!
(Go ahead, laugh. And then tell me you’ve never done anything similar.)
So, in that vein, I went to the supermarket last week to buy some chocolate-making stuff. And on the way in to the supermarket, I noticed they were running a Thanksgiving special: Turkeys for $0.49/lb with a $25 purchase!
I quickly totaled up my purchases and realized they were over $25. A 14-pound turkey would cost me less than $7! What a fantastic deal! How could I pass it up?
Somewhere in the back of my head, my common sense was shouting, “Your refrigerator already has an extra 4 gallons of cream and 6 pounds of butter in it! There are 15 pounds of fruit puree in the freezer! You have 50 pounds of sugar, 106 pounds of chocolate, 15 pounds of glucose syrup, 12 pounds of honey, 10 pounds of assorted nuts in the kitchen already. You need to make 130 pounds of chocolates in the next 10 days, and YOU ARE BUYING A TURKEY?!?!?”
Fortunately, my common sense is pretty atrophied (life is so much more fun without it!), and it’s also used to being ignored. So, barely aware of whatever it was saying (it couldn’t be that important anyway), I got into the checkout line and came home with a 14-pound turkey.
As soon as I got home, of course, the enormity of what I’d done hit me. Turkeys take a long time to roast. Like, 3-4 hours. During which the oven heats up the kitchen. And because chocolate doesn’t set properly in a warm kitchen, there was no way to make chocolates while the turkey was roasting. I didn’t have enough freezer space to stash the turkey until chocolate season was over. So what on earth was I going to do with the turkey?
(While my common sense exerts little to no influence over what I do, it is VERY good at saying “I told you so.”)
Finally, I realized that Friday was slated for fudge-making. Fudge is much less temperature-sensitive than chocolate, so I could roast the turkey while making five batches of fudge. It would mean standing in front of a 350-degree oven all day, but heck, that wouldn’t be so bad! And I could roast my $7 turkey! (Take that, common sense!)
So then I started reading up on turkey-roasting. (Because when you have to make 13 pounds of chocolate per day for the next 10 days, the best way to start is by spending two hours on the Internet learning how to roast a turkey.) And then, while reading all the pros and cons and scientific analyses of ways to brine a turkey, I stumbled upon the solution. The food-scientist cooks at the Serious Eats food blog reported that the best way to get a perfectly cooked turkey was to spatchcock it – cut out the backbone, flatten the turkey, and roast it at a blistering 450 degrees. They said the turkey would cook to perfection in 80 minutes.
I read this at 6pm yesterday night. It sounded interesting, but I didn’t have kitchen shears, which I’d need to cut out the backbone. The obvious course would be to go to the store tomorrow, buy shears, and roast the turkey tomorrow. That would also give me time to think through the rest of the recipe and pick up any missing ingredients.
I, on the other hand, am an instant gratification bunny, and I live 2.5 miles from an Amazon PrimeNow warehouse. Four days previously, I had burned out the motor of a stick blender in the middle of making green tea hazelnut fudge, and Amazon PrimeNow had the replacement on my doorstep in 16 minutes. (Yes, you read that right: sixteen minutes!) Which had gotten me wondering: just how fast could they get it to me? Could they beat their record?
So, in the spirit of intellectual inquiry, I ordered the kitchen shears (and my missing ingredients) PrimeNow.
Twenty-one minutes and 32 seconds later (slackers!), I had my shears. I preheated the oven, chopped my vegetables, spatchcocked the turkey (it’s actually a lot easier than it sounds), and put it on a rack. Here’s what it looked like:
I stuck my ChefAlarm temperature probe into it and threw it into my 450-degree oven. (I had actually bought the ChefAlarm for making fudge and caramels – but what’s good for the fudge must be good for the turkey, right?)
Then I set to making the mandatory turkey fixings: cranberry sauce and gravy. (I don’t like stuffing.) Just as the cranberry sauce finished, and the gravy broth was done simmering, the ChefAlarm went off, and I pulled this beautiful bird out of the oven:
14 pound turkey, roasted to perfection in 1 hour, 1 minute, and 48 seconds. (Dang!) Tender juicy breast, nicely cooked legs. And wonderfully browned skin!
While the turkey was resting, I thickened the gravy. And, at 8:06pm, I sat down to a lovely turkey dinner, complete with cranberry sauce, gravy, roasted butternut squash, and a medley of the vegetables that had roasted underneath the turkey, absorbing the drippings. (Kinda like stuffing, only much, much better.)
A 14-pound roasted-turkey dinner in two hours and six minutes. (Coulda done it faster if not for those slackers at Amazon. 😉 ) I had no idea it was possible. And, if I’d listened to my common sense, I never would have found out!
So there you have it. Tien 1, common sense 0.
Now, about those 130 pounds of chocolates… 🙂