The stress is unbearable. Every time you close your eyes, you can feel the weight of everything that’s gone wrong. We here at Bunny Ears aren’t going to sugarcoat it: This Thanksgiving turkey is just the opportunity you need to have at least one thing go right. And you really need it because, let’s be honest, you can really use a win right now.
We’re not going to tell you it’ll be fine if the turkey sucks. We both know that’s not true. You need the meat to be juicy and the skin brown and crisp. You need to slice the breast as well as they do on the Food Network. You need everyone’s eyes to roll back when they take their first bite. When the meal is done, you need to be hoisted on their shoulders like a quarterback that threw the game-winning touchdown. Anything short of Thanksgiving perfection may leave you crumbled into a heap of sobs and snot bubbles in front of your cousins and grandparents. Your hysterical breakdown will be the elephant in the room at every Thanksgiving dinner for years to come. We cannot stress how important it is that you get this right.
The only thing that can save you is sticking to a reliable turkey recipe. This isn’t the time to “experiment” or “follow your gut.” Your instincts are terrible right now. They’re why you’re one burnt turkey away from a full-on mental collapse. There’s no telling what you’ll do in your current state. You might brine it in Listerine. In a desperate attempt at achieving Thanksgiving glory, you might convince yourself that slow roasting it in your driveway under the hot sun for nine hours is the next new turkey preparation trend that’ll sweep the nation. It won’t. It’ll just give you and your loved ones incredible diarrhea.
Stick to what works. Brine it. Roast it. Carve it. Don’t get fancy. Maybe if you get your shit together in time for next Thanksgiving, you can try out that turducken recipe you’ve been eyeing. If you try it this year, you might end up stuffing the bird with your watch and a couch cushion. You’re not in the right head space for cramming birds into other birds. Just follow that one Alton Brown Turkey recipe everybody likes. It’s either that or spend the next few years planning your escapes from various maximum-security mental health facilities because that is where you’ll end up if you ruin this bird. Don’t let this turkey be your supervillain origin story.
Not to add anymore stress, but you know from experience that a good turkey can save a bad Thanksgiving dinner experience. No matter how contrasting their political and social views, a family can rally behind a good turkey. It won’t heal all wounds, but it can shut people up for a second, and buddy, you really need people to shut the fuck up right now. You are a window pane with a complex spiderweb of fractures. You will shatter when all the usual Thanksgiving family bickering that you’ve learned to tune out like white noise is turned against you and your rubber doorstop of a turkey. It’ll make you wish you’d followed through with your plans to equip your dining chairs with ejector seats.
Outsource the sweet potatoes. Get a sibling to bring a green bean casserole. Buy a frozen pumpkin pie from the grocery store. Your turkey is the most important thing in the world right now. It’s probably not the healthiest way to look at it, but that turkey is an extension of you. Its fate is tied to yours. The world is a nightmare, and your life is a wildfire at a zoo, but if this turkey turns out well, then maybe—maybe—there’s hope for you yet.