The Oven Ate My Turkey

Is your Turkey being held hostage by your oven? The oven door won’t open? Is your oven locked shut with your Turkey inside? Have you bent the latch into a pretzel trying to force it open, to no avail?

Well, I’m here to help. To save your Thanksgiving and what little dignity you have left, TURN OFF THE POWER to the oven. This will kill the current to the lock solenoid that is keeping your door shut against your will and will allow you to open your door presto.

You can either make a mess of your kitchen pulling it out from the wall to unplug it, revealing all the dust bunnies, dog food, plastic bag ties and new biological life forms growing under your stove, displacing the gravy and mashed potatoes cooking on the top burners…. or you can go to your breaker box and cut the power to your 220V kitchen appliances (if your breaker is unlabeled… 220V are the big switches, not the small ones for regular outlets. You’ll probably see three sizes… the small switches, big switches, and the master bar that turns off the whole box. Go for the big switches).

Give it 10 minutes if it doesn’t open at first, your oven might have a backup battery as a safety feature. If this doesn’t work, go out for Chinese as you’ll have to dismantle your stove to get it open. And be sure to book an appointment with the neighborhood twelve-year-old to come over and reset your clocks so they don’t flash 12:00 all year.

Now, how would one get themselves into a Turkey hostage crisis, you ask? Well, perhaps you thought you’d start Thanksgiving with a clean oven and you let your self-cleaning oven clean itself and it didn’t let you open the door again in time to start your Turkey. Yeah, that takes hours and hours and hours and your oven won’t let you in until it’s nice and cold again. Who would have thought? You probably called Mom and decided to move Thanksgiving to her place or at least borrow her oven. Next time, go for a sponge and some elbow grease and about 5 minutes of work. It’s better for the environment and your electric bill to boot.

Perhaps you were so impressed last year with Alton Brown’s brine-your-bird method to produce moist and juicy turkey that you took his advice again this year, expanding your technique to include a 30 minute broil at 500°F. Perhaps you thought that the handy little door clasp was there to secure the door against heat loss, especially since you’re using a thermometer that snakes its way out of the door and sticks on the front of your oven.

And perhaps your oven interpreted the 500°F and the self-clean lock to mean that it needed to keep your oven closed until it cooled off, Turkey or no. And perhaps you didn’t realize this until the 30 minutes was up and your cold-on-the-inside, crispy-on-the-outside Turkey was ready for its “Turkey Triangle” breast plate of tin foil and a more moderate cooking temperature of 350°F.

And why would I know all about this? Oh, no reason, really.

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About Christopher

Christopher Landauer is a fifth generation Colorado native and second generation Border Collie enthusiast. Border Collies have been the Landauer family dogs since the 1960s and Christopher got his first one as a toddler. He began his own modest breeding program with the purchase of Dublin and Celeste in 2006 and currently shares his home with their children Mercury and Gemma as well. His interest in genetics began in AP Chemistry and AP Biology and was honed at Stanford University.