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Public Health Official Sickens Family

 That would have been the title of a news story about me 5 years ago on Thanksgiving.

I bought this turkey. This huge turkey. I mean, this thing was massive and gloriously beautiful. It was 2006 and the first time that I was going to make a Thanksgiving dinner for my family and I was very excited. Not the whole family, just my immediate family that consisted of me, a soon to be ex-husband, my daughter and my son who was barely eating solids. Yes, I was woman/mother of the year and this turkey was mine to cook! It was also frozen.

As the public information officer for a rural county health department I know the food safety message because I preach it to others during the Holidays. Proper preparation of the turkey is important in order to prevent foodborne illness. We know this right? And what is the proper way to defrost a turkey? In the fridge. Good answer! Did I do this?

Hey! Don’t judge me! This gloriously massive turkey was still frozen and my family wanted to eat so I did what no good public health official would do… I defrosted it outside. All. Night. Long.

Some of you are swallowing that little bit of vomit that comes up when you think of something gross. Don’t worry, it gets better.

The next morning I dressed up the turkey (it looked great in tie dye) and threw it in the oven to cook for oh, about 1 hour less than it was suppose to cook for. Starved, I begged my soon to be ex-husband to carve the turkey. Let me tell you, this was the moistest turkey ever. I served up the kids and dug right into my gloriously moist turkey. My son turned his nose up at the meat and ate the potatoes instead. My daughter declared that the turkey looked funny and refused to eat it.

Fast forward to the next day at work and me doubled over in stomach cramps. I was in denial, I was hurting, I was crapping like you wouldn’t believe. Like really bad. I played it off pretty well but it was awful and nasty. The smell was freaking gross.  My soon to be x-husband was sick too but not my kids. No, they didn’t eat the turkey. They were fine.

You know what I was most upset about? I had this huge pile of leftovers of turkey that I wanted to eat. Actually, I convinced myself that the turkey was fine and I served my soon to be ex-husband a couple of cold turkey sandwiches. He got even more violently sick than the first time around. Mmmwwaaaahahahaaahhhaaaa.

So I just shredded the remaining turkey and deep fried it as turkey taquitos. No more massive diarrhea.

Now, 5 years later, I’m reminded of the dangers of defrosting a turkey outside and not cooking it to temperature. Mostly because I have a daughter and a co-worker (I’m talking about you Dave) that won’t let me forget. I haven’t cooked another turkey since.

This year I’m heading to my mothers (oh boy, that is a whole other blog entry) and she is cooking the hell out of the turkey. On a side note, I hope she covers it with bacon.

Happy Safe Thanksgiving everyone.