Anyone who knows me knows that cooking is not My Thing. I know there are lots of people out there who really get off on it, but the allure is lost on me. When I was younger, I remember my mother owning a cookbook called the I Hate to Cook Book. I don't really hate to cook either. I do okay when I have to. It's not that I don't know how to do it; I just consider it a necessary part of life that I have little affiliation for... like death, taxes and clipping your toenails. It's not even that I dislike cooking that much, it's just that I dislike cleaning up more. If I were Emeril, and I had a fully stocked kitchen with every kitchen gadget and utensil I could ever need and minions to all go behind me and clean everything up behind me, I'd probably enjoy cooking a whole lot more than I do.

So my favorite holiday meal is our traditional Christmas day dinner in which we go out for Chinese food a la A Christmas Story.

Perhaps because I'm such a schlub on Christmas, I do like to cook for Thanksgiving. I don't mind cooking turkey so much; it's not really that much work prep-wise and I am the kind of cook who does well with not having to stand in the kitchen the entire time something is being prepared. Or take things out of the oven at a specific time. Or things that need to be stirred. So the method of cooking turkey appeals to me: check the turkey, watch some Thanksgiving Day Parade, check the turkey, take a nap, check the turkey, catch a few episodes of the Twilight Zone or Buffy the Vampire Slayer marathon, check the turkey, watch some football... And while the things that go with the turkey tend to be a little more labor intensive, I don't mind so much because I loves me some mashed potatoes and gravy - it's in the genes.

So one day a year, I'll do the barefoot in the kitchen thing (I never wear shoes in the house). The only problem with that is that for nearly all of my marriage I have had this job where we run a conference the weekend immediately preceeding Thanksgiving. It's six to eight days of hellish hours, many many people with many many concerns and needs, and lots of running back and forth. So by the time I get home, my feet and ankles have turned into swollen throbbing knobs at the bottom of my legs, my brain is reduced to a pool of warm jel-lo and all I have energy to do is sit on the couch in my underwear and stare at the television (underwear optional).

Sometimes I get it together by Thanksgiving Day, sometimes I don't.
So, I've hit upon this little trick I'd like to share with all the ladies who don't want to cook on Thanksgiving. Please keep in mind I do so at the risk of my husband reading this and finding out he's been duped, so consider the sacrifice I'm making and don't say I never did anything for you. Are you ready? Here it is:

Fried turkey.

While this is obviously not true across the gender board, in general I have found that men will cook with gusto if the possibility exists that someone might need to go to the emergency room and/or the house could burn down in the process. So a couple of years ago, I innocently suggested it "might be fun" to "try fried turkey" one year... "I never had it" and "I wondered if it would be better" than regular turkey. I believe the lamp was knocked over by the wind that passed through the room as my husband ran to Wal-Mart to purchase a turkey fryer and a container of oil big enough to grease down seven or eight Arnold Schwarzeneggers.

Frying turkey is not for the unprepared, mind you. The first time The KoH and Matt tried it, they SET THE GROUND ON FIRE. So you have to know what you're doing.... and have a fire extinguisher handy. It also helps to have a neighbor who is a retired firefighter and willing to call his buddies should things get out of hand.

But if you read all the tips first and pay attention to the part where you put the turkey in the fryer in water and then take it out and mark the water level -- that is how much oil to put in -- i
t's actually not too difficult a process. The turkey comes out nice and moist on the inside and crispy on the outside and you don't even have to heat up the house to a thousand and one degrees with the oven being on for three hours. It is sweet ambrosia, let me tell you.

The downside is that if you're husband is anything like mine, the turkey fryer and the oil won't get put away until March. And since you are stubborn, you will not put it away either. And then this silent protest will go on as you secretly mark down the days on the calendar that have gone by that he has not put away the turkey fryer and oil because you refuse to say anything about it to him since you know he will call you a nag if you do. And then you're stuck in an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond. So plan to stay out of the backyard for the rest of the winter if that bothers you.

This post was written for
Parent Bloggers Network as part of a sweepstakes sponsored by Butterball.