I needed some extra love and affirmation, so I did what any desperate housewife would do. I invited 40+ people to my home for a Turkey Day extravaganza. For weeks, I cleaned, decorated, and baked. I made Martha Stewart worthy place settings, centerpieces, sides. Of course, I refused any help; those compliments were MINE.

Then like a ravenous animal, I feasted:

  • “Your house is so lovely.”
  • “This meal is delicious.”
  • “How did you manage to pull all this off?”
  • “It must have taken hours.”

Following a cycle similar to one of addiction, I tried harder, year after year, to chase the high of affirmations, but it was never enough. I was exhausted, resentful, and unsatisfied. Finally, after months of recovery, I see the motive behind my madness; I was starving for love.

Last week, I bought a 13+ pound Butterball, but I didn’t use it as bait for compliments. I didn’t brine or massage the bird, and I made the laziest turkey known to man for my family of THREE. They loved it, and I wasn’t disappointed with fleeting compliments that only left me hungry for more.

The Co-dependent’s Simple Turkey


  • 1 Turkey
  • 1 Roasting pan
  • Salt and pepper
  • Aluminum foil

If the turkey is frozen, let it thaw in the refrigerator for 3-4 days, depending on size. I let mine thaw in the roasting pan. On baking day, I cut the plastic open and slid out it into the pan. I didn’t rinse the turkey, nor did I grease the pan. I removed the giblets and threw them away. The neck was MIA, and I didn’t waste any time looking for it. I salted and peppered the bird, covered it with foil and put it in the oven. I set my oven to 215 degrees F, and I went to work. The goal is to cook the bird low and slow.

The Results

When I got home eight hours later, the turkey was done and bathing in a delicious protein-rich broth. The skin was a pasty beige, and the meat was a little dry, so I drizzled mine with the broth. Eight hours was too long, but that worked for me, and my family thought it was the best turkey we’ve ever had.

3 Easy Tips For A Better Bird

  1. Bake at 425 degrees for approximately 30 minutes until the skin is brown and crispy. Then reduce the oven temperature to 215 or lower. Next time, I’m going to try 185.
  2. Bake the turkey when you’re home so you can check for doneness. It probably only needed to bake for four to six hours. The turkey is done when a meat thermometer reads 180 degrees F in the thigh, 170 in the breast and 165 in the stuffing.
  3. Rub the turkey with an equally lazy herbed butter – put 1 stick of butter, salt, pepper, fresh rosemary, sage, and 2 cloves of garlic into a food processor. Pulse until smooth. For extra flavor, shove some of the butter under the skin.

A turkey this size feeds approximately 10 people. If your family isn’t into leftovers, consider freezing half of the meat and broth for an even lazier turkey dinner in the near future.


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Pam Carver

Pam is the author of two books: Co-dependent In The Kitchen, and Find Your True Colors In 12 Steps. She's also a contributing editor for Reach Out Recovery. She's a recovery advocate who likes long walks on the beach and chocolate.

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