The Wednesday before Thanksgiving always sneaks up on me. That's the day I need to locate my five-gallon bucket, boil my brine, and pray the turkey has thawed. That's the day I start preparing the bird.
Even though Alton Brown's recipe has been fool-proof for the last several years, I always find something to stress about. Today it's the weather. I'm in the habit of putting the bucket outside in the cool weather overnight. But it will be far from cool here tonight. After checking the fridge to see if there is space for a five-gallon bucket -- even though I don't believe there has ever been room for a five-gallon bucket in that fridge, including when it was brand new and empty -- I decided that I'd just to get up a few times overnight and make sure the brine was well iced.
That led to a new worry: Do we have enough ice? I broke out our iced-tea maker this afternoon and made a pot, which involved digging deep into the freezer for ice. Would enough be rejuvenated by tonight to properly ice down the brine? Or would I be sending Noel out for a bag of ice around 10 pm? (Just checked the freezer; looks like the icemaker is chugging away. See -- this is what the anxiety does to me.)
Turkey is a high-profile meal component, and you only get one shot at it. To make matters worse, Noel casually asked my parents (here visiting for the holiday) if this was the first time they'd ever had my turkey. I could have sworn they've been here before on Thanksgiving, but nope -- this is the first time. I have the utmost confidence in my recipe, but my ability to execute the game plan isn't a matter on which I'm nearly as certain.