Title: Turkey 101
Date: November 10, 2004
Author: Kathy Foote
Summary: Mulder and Scully reminisce about Thanksgiving
Category: MSR, Humor
Disclaimer: Unfortunately, these characters are the property of
Chris Carter, 1013 Productions, and Twentieth Century Fox. I
wish they were mine, but they aren’t.
Archive: Two weeks exclusive with VS12, then anywhere is
fine by me
Authors’ note: This story was written for IMTP Virtual Season
12, Thanksgiving Special.
Thanks: To Emmy and everyone at Mulder’s Refuge who
encourage my writing, to my Mom who is rapidly becoming my
writing partner, and last but definitely not least, to Vickie
Moseley, my absolutely fabulous beta.
Mulder and Scully sat around their dining table having just
finished their Thanksgiving dinner. The table was packed with
food. There was a modest sized turkey that had been roasted to
perfection, missing a few slices. There were half full bowls of
dressing, mashed potatoes, and green beans. There was even a
gravy boat containing what looked like giblet gravy. There was
a beautiful centerpiece of autumn flowers, surrounded by
burning candles. It was perfect; Martha Stewart would have
“Mulder…that was the best turkey yet. I believe you outdid
yourself”, Scully said rubbing her full belly. “You just keep
getting better every year. I don’t know how you do it.”
“Yeah…well…compared to the first year, it isn’t hard to show
improvement”, laughed Mulder, remembering his first
experience cooking a turkey. “Do you remember that?”
Scully broke into a wide grin, “Of course, I remember. I was
completely surprised. I had no idea what you had planned.”
“I just wanted to do something really special for you Scully. I
had no idea what I was getting into. It was a spur of the
Mulder sat in his office, seeing how many pencils he could get
stuck into the ceiling. He was bored. It had been pretty quiet
these last few days with Scully spending all her time at
Quantico. Thank God, it was a short week. Tomorrow was
Thanksgiving and they would be off for four days. They were
planning to spend the long weekend together, since her mother
had gone out of town. He couldn’t wait. They hadn’t spent that
much time together, since they became a couple.
He wanted to do something special for Scully, so he decided he
would cook Thanksgiving dinner, complete with turkey and
dressing and pumpkin pie. He called her cell phone and asked
her to come to his place the next day around 2:00. He said he
had a quick errand to run in the morning but he would have
lunch ready when she arrived. He wanted to make sure she
wouldn’t arrive before the meal would be ready. He knew she
would never suspect that he would actually cook a turkey. She
would probably be expecting pizza or Chinese takeout.
On his way home, Mulder stopped at the supermarket to buy the
fixings for dinner. He picked out an 18 lb frozen turkey. It
looked big, but he thought it would leave them with plenty of
leftovers. They wouldn’t have to cook the rest of the weekend.
He had better things planned for them, than cooking meals.
He walked up and down the aisles trying to decide what he
should buy to eat with the turkey. He bought Stove Top
Stuffing, instant mashed potatoes, frozen green beans (Scully
would expect some kind of green vegetable), a jar of turkey
gravy, and jellied cranberry sauce (he had always liked that
stuff). He picked up a pumpkin pie and a can of whipped
cream. He thought about it for a second, and when an idea
formed in his head, grabbed a second can of whipped cream.
He saw a stack of aluminum roasting pans. He thought about it
and decided he didn’t have anything big enough to hold the
turkey, so he threw one in his basket. He mentally went over
his menu and decided he had everything he needed. The girl at
the checkout counter commented on his choice of turkey,
guessing that he must be cooking for a large group and hoping
he had enough time to thaw it out. Mulder wasn’t listening. He
was deep in thought about how he would pull this off.
As soon as he got home, he called the Gunmen to see if they
knew how to cook a turkey. They put him on speakerphone and
each threw out a myriad of ideas from cooking the turkey to
stuffing it. They even detailed how to properly prepare giblet
gravy (what the _hell_ is a giblet?).
Finally, Mulder had had enough of their advice. He said he
would figure it out on his own, but before he could disconnect,
Byers suggested checking out the Butterball website. He said
they were bound to have all kinds of information on cooking
turkey. Mulder had no idea such a website existed. He
immediately booted up his computer and checked out the site.
The site was amazing. It had everything he would need to know
about cooking turkey. It even had videos.
The first task was to thaw the turkey. He could thaw it in the
refrigerator for 2-3 days. 2-3 days? No way! There was a
faster way that involved using cold water. That would be a
possibility. He read further. “Are you left with no time to thaw
your turkey? No thawing is needed for all natural Butterball
Fresh Whole Turkeys”. Now they tell him. It looked like it
would be the cold-water method.
– Thaw breast side down in its unopened wrapper in cold water to
– Change the water every 30 minutes to keep surface cold
– Estimate minimum thawing time to be 30 minutes per pound for
Wait! 30 minutes per pound? If that were correct, it would take
9 hours to thaw the turkey. Damn! It was almost 11:00pm and
if he started now, it would not be thawed until 8:00am. Why in
the hell had he bought such a big turkey? What had he been
thinking? Obviously, he had been thinking about spending the
weekend with Scully and nothing else.
Mulder filled the sink with cold water, placed the turkey in the
water, and set the timer for 30 minutes. When the timer went
off, he replaced the cold water in the sink and reset the timer.
Every 30 minutes he repeated the procedure. Finally, around
1:00am, he began to fall asleep during the wait, only to be
awakened by the ringing timer. He would no sooner fall into a
deep sleep then he had to get up and take care of the turkey.
Around 7:30, Mulder figured the turkey was thawed enough and
was ready to be cooked. He jumped back on the computer and
looked up how to cook the turkey. First, he needed to know
how long it would take to cook the monster turkey. It would
take 4 1/2 hours to cook if he stuffed it and only 3 1/2 hours if
it was unstuffed. Mulder opted for an unstuffed turkey. He
studied the remaining steps, committing them to memory.
– Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
– Place thawed or fresh turkey, breast up on a flat rack in a
shallow pan, 2 to 2-1/2 inches deep.
He thought about how glad he was he had seen the pans in the
store. He had never considered what he would have used to
cook the turkey in. Pan…check!
– Brush or rub skin with oil to prevent the skin from drying and
to enhance the golden color.
Oil? Mulder didn’t have any oil. He had butter and that would
be close enough. Butter…check!
– Insert oven-safe meat thermometer deep into the lower part of
the thigh muscle, but not touching the bone. If unstuffed, the
turkey is done when the meat thermometer reaches 180°F deep in
the thigh; also, juices should be clear, not reddish pink when
thigh muscle is pierced deeply.
Meat thermometer? They had thermometers for meat?
Obviously, the one Scully had bought for him wouldn’t work; it
didn’t go any higher than 106 degrees. What were his options?
Well, he could run out and try to find one or do without it. He
decided he would do without it. No meat thermometer…check!
– When the turkey is about two-thirds done, loosely cover the
breast and top of drumsticks with a piece of lightweight foil
to prevent overcooking the breast.
Foil? Dammit! He should have checked out this website before
he went to the store. Think! Where could he get some foil? He
remembered he had some leftovers in the refrigerator that were
wrapped in foil. Thank you, Scully. Foil…check!
He returned to the kitchen and prepared the turkey for cooking.
He first turned on the oven to 375 degrees. Then, he rubbed
down the bird with butter, put it into the roasting pan, and
placed it in the oven. He checked his watch…8:30. He would
need to put the foil on the turkey at 11:00.
By 11:00, you could smell the turkey cooking. Mulder
unwrapped the leftovers, set the foil aside, and threw away the
leftovers. He carefully smoothed out the foil, but still managed
to tear it several times in the process. He arranged the small
pieces of foil over the top of the turkey, trying to cover as much
as possible. Wouldn’t want to burn our breast, now would we?
He checked his watch…11:30. The turkey should be ready by
While Mulder waited for the turkey to finish cooking, he
decided to recheck the website to see if there was anything else
he forgot. There were so many topics on the website. He
decided to check out the ‘First Timers’ section and see how he
– Determine how much turkey and stuffing you will need: Let
Butterball do the math with the Turkey and Stuffing Calculator.
Oops…well he had missed that one. 18 lbs for 2 people was
probably a bit much. He decided to see how much he should
have bought. He entered the variables. Adults…2, children…0,
leftovers…yes. He pressed the ‘Calculate’ button and it spit out
the answer of 3 lbs. Wow…he guessed he would have a lot of
leftovers. Maybe he could pawn some off on the Gunmen.
– Prepare your shopping list: Save multiple trips to the store by
Creating Your Own Shopping List.
That would have been a good idea. At least he didn’t make
multiple trips to the store. Of course, he decided to forego some
of the items. Next time, he would make a list of everything he
would need, including the elusive meat thermometer.
– Thaw the Turkey: Refrigerator or Cold Water? Decide which method
is right for you.
He wished he had seen that one. If he had known and planned
ahead, he would not have been up all night thawing out the
monster turkey. Next time, he would buy a smaller turkey and
would purchase it several days in advance.
– Roasting to Perfection: Follow our Open Pan Roasting Method and
Video for tender and juicy turkey every time. And learn where the
meat thermometer goes and how to tell when the turkey is done.
There was that damn meat thermometer again. He would
definitely have to buy one of those next time.
– Still looking for fail-safe preparation? Consider preparing a
Butterball Fully Cooked Turkey.
He really wished he had seen that idea before now. He could
have bought one already cooked or had dinner catered if he had
planned ahead. He nixed the latter idea. He really wanted to
cook for Scully. She was going to be so surprised and this
would have all been worth it just to see the look on her face. He
let out a satisfied sigh as he thought about her.
He shook himself from his daydream. He didn’t have time for
that. He had just enough time to grab a quick shower and set
the table, before the turkey would be done.
At 1:00, he checked out his turkey. It was golden brown and
looked pretty damn good, even if he said so himself. He took it
out so it could…breathe…or was it rest…either way, it had to
sit for at least 15 minutes before it could be carved. He figured
it could lie there and rest until Scully got there, which would be
in about 45 minutes.
It was time to cook the side dishes. He had four side dishes,
which would require 4 burners and 4 pans. He had 4 burners on
his stove, so that was no problem, but when he counted pans, he
came up short. He found only 2 pans. Now what could he do?
Not only would he have to cook 4 things using only 2 pans, but
also he would have to keep everything warm until Scully
showed up. He hadn’t even considered that each of these things
needed to be cooked on top of the stove and basically at the
same time, so everything would be hot.
He suddenly had a brilliant idea. He removed the turkey from
the roasting pan and placed it on a cookie sheet, since he didn’t
have a plate big enough to hold the massive bird. He would
cook the stuffing and potatoes, put them in the roasting pan, and
keep them warm in the oven, while he cooked the beans and
True to her word, Scully showed up at exactly 2:00. He opened
the door and there she stood. He invited her in and took her
coat. She was casually dressed in jeans and an oversized oxford
shirt, with her hair pulled back into a ponytail.
“I thought we were just going to hang out and watch movies, so
I wore my comfortable clothes.”
“You look great, Scully, but you might be even _more_
comfortable wearing nothing” Mulder retorted, waggling his
eyebrows for a lecherous effect.
Scully looked back at him, patting him on the cheek, “Maybe
later…if you’re a good boy.”
Mulder gave her his patented puppy-dog look, “Ah, Scully, you
know I am always a good boy. Maybe we can…”
She interrupted him, having noticed the smell of the food. “Is
that food I smell, Mulder? Did you already order lunch?”
“Order? I’ll have you know, I cooked Thanksgiving dinner for
us…with my own hands.”
“Well. I just assumed you would be ord…wait…what did you
say? You cooked?”
“I _cooked_ . Turkey, dressing, and all the fixings.”
“Mulderrrr”, she purred, “I can’t believe you cooked…. for me.”
“Come sit down Scully and I’ll put the food on the table.”
Mulder retrieved the food from the kitchen. He put the
dressing, potatoes, beans, and gravy in their own bowls. Scully
watched with her mouth agape as Mulder brought the dishes
filled with food from the kitchen to the table.
He brought out his turkey last and placed it in the center of the
Scully’s eyes widened in surprise. “Mulder! How many more
people are you expecting? That turkey would feed a small
“Yeah, I know…I…uh…I thought we could eat the leftovers
this weekend. I figured we would be too _busy_ to cook
anything. Besides, you’d be amazed how many leftover turkey
recipes I found on the Internet. There’s turkey chili, turkey
nachos, turkey pizza, turkey pasta…”
Scully rolled her eyes, “Enough, Mulder…I’ll take your word
for it. You’re beginning to sound like that guy from Forrest
Mulder proudly carved into the turkey and, as he hoped, it was
done, even without the use of the meat thermometer. Scully and
he ate their Thanksgiving dinner amid the occasional sounds of
“Mulder, this is _really_ good. I am so surprised.”
Mulder gave her a little pout, “Are you surprised because you
weren’t expecting it or are you surprised because it is good?”
“Both, I guess. I never expected you to cook an entire
Thanksgiving dinner. It was a great surprise and you did a
damn good job. I’m proud of you.”
Mulder smiled, “Thanks.” He wasn’t sure what made him most
happy…the fact that it turned out so good or that Scully was
proud of him. “Hey, I have another surprise. Close your eyes.”
“Another?” Scully obediently closed her eyes.
Mulder disappeared into the kitchen. He retuned with the
pumpkin pie and the two cans of whipped cream. He placed the
pie and one can of whipped cream on the table, keeping the
other can behind his back. “Ok, you can open your eyes.”
When Scully saw the pie, her eyes grew wide, “Oh my God,
Mulder, I couldn’t eat another thing. Let’s save the pie for
Mulder leaned in close to Scully’s ear and huskily whispered,
“Fine by me, Scully, because I actually had a better use planned
for the whipped cream anyway”.
Scully turned her face to look at him and broke into a wide
smile, “Oh really, Agent Mulder?” She snatched the can of
whipped cream off the table and said, “I have a few plans of my
own.” She stood and started backing toward the bedroom
Mulder also broke into a wide grin. He brought the other can of
whipped cream from behind his back. “Oooh, Scully…I sure
hope we’re thinking the same thing. Come on…I’ll race you to
Mulder and Scully laughed as they remembered that
Thanksgiving not so long ago.
“Mulder, did we ever eat that pumpkin pie?”
“Yeah…the next day…but we had to eat it plain, because we
used up all the whipped cream on other things”, Mulder said,
reaching for her hands and waggling his eyebrows for added
“Save it, Mulder.” She rose from the table before he could
reach her and disappeared into the kitchen. Mulder’s arms fell
to the table and he rested his head on them, letting out an
impatient sigh. He could hear Scully moving around the
kitchen, opening the refrigerator door. “Mulder? You want
dessert now?” she yelled from the kitchen.
“Awww, Scully, can’t we save the pie for later,” pouted Mulder,
not moving his head from where it rested. He had hoped the
story would have reminded Scully of the time _after_ dinner,
but apparently he had made her think of pie.
Scully returned from the kitchen with her hands behind her
back. “I didn’t say pie, Mulder…I said _dessert_.”
He raised his head to see Scully bringing her hands from behind
her back. In each hand, she had a can of whipped cream. A
huge grin formed on Mulder’s face.
“Come on, Mulder…I’ll race you to the bedroom…”