Man About Menifee: This Turkey Dinner Took Some Patience

By David Baker

Well, another Thanksgiving is over at the Baker household and I am extremely thankful. Don't get me wrong. A holiday that encourages reflection and appreciation for all the blessings that we have is wonderful, but it can be a little stressful, too.

The day started out normally enough. I woke up, got showered and changed and started getting the house ready to receive our guests. At 10 a.m., I went to pick up our holiday dinner order from Stater Brothers. Yes, we cheated and let the grocery store handle the bulk of the preparation this year.

I brought the food back to the house and went outside to clean out the garage while Jennifer got ready to cook. My mission was clear: To retrieve and unearth as many Christmas decorations as possible. I got a pretty good start on it too, until one of the kids came out and told me there was a problem with the turkey.

You see, when the turkey comes it is pretty much cooked, but it still needs to be heated all the way through, and in order to do that, the turkey is essentially double bagged. The outer bag is just a cover and the inner bag that surrounds the turkey holds in the juices.

Jennifer had very carefully removed the outer bag but as she was doing it, all the juices spilled out. As it turned out, there was a small tear in the inner bag, but now with all the juices spilled out, we weren't sure how to proceed. We didn't want to end up with a dried-out turkey.

I called the Stater Brothers deli to see what my options were. They were courteous and invited me to bring the turkey back and exchange it for a new one. When I got back to the house, we very carefully opened the outer package again. In true Murphy's Law fashion, the inner bag on this turkey had also ruptured, but this time we anticipated i,t so no juices were lost.

I called Stater Brothers again and they suggested dumping the turkey, juice and all, into a roasting pan, covering it with tinfoil and baking according to the directions. This wouldn't have been a big deal, except we didn't have a roasting pan. So I went back out again and picked up a disposable roasting pan and some tinfoil and came back to the house.

We put our turkey in the oven, albeit an hour late, and began cooking. My in-laws came shortly thereafter and we all sat down to watch some holiday movies and enjoy some appetizers. We eventually ate the turkey, which was quite juicy and delicious, and enjoyed some pie for dessert.

Now with all my guests gone, I'm sitting here looking at this pile of Christmas decorations that will be going up in the next week. It genuinely feels like the holiday season has begun.

David Baker, our Man About Menifee, writes about his adventures in and around town every Friday in this space. You may leave comments for him here or email him at


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