Don’t get twizzled by your turkey


That pressure you’re feeling? The anxiety that’s waking you up at night? Don’t worry, because you’re not alone. A significant percentage of the population is feeling exactly the same way – nervous; adrenalinated; a little fearful.

It’s just the Christmas Dinner Syndrome, and it strikes at the same time every year – around the middle of December. And it does your head in.

The reason why is simple – few of us in Ireland have much experience of cooking for large numbers of people. And then, just at that point when we have a million things to do, we also have to plan an epic feast, and one that takes into consideration every culinary foible of your family – Uncle Harry doesn’t like stuffing; Donal doesn’t eat meat; Patricia says she can’t touch gluten; Granny has always hated sprouts.

A challenge like this should come with a health warning – even just trying to satisfy everyone will make you ill.

Unfortunately, that isn’t the only problem. If you go looking for answers to the big question of the day – exactly how long should you cook that big, ginormous turkey? – the confusion multiplies exponentially.

Mary Berry says four hours and 10 minutes is needed to cook a 12-14lb turkey, at 200C.

Neven Maguire says you will need 20 minutes per pound for a 12lb bird at 190C, plus 20 minutes, which is even longer than Mary Berry’s timing.

Darina Allen, then, knocks an entire hour off Neven’s estimation, reckoning the 12lb bird is done in three hours. Jamie Oliver agrees with Darina, and both roast at 180C.

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