Anthony Bourdain's 'Stunt Turkey' Tactic To Impress Dinner Guests

If you identify as mindful, run a self-help YouTube channel, or are actively protecting your peace with the diligence and fortitude of a Swiss banker, then maybe stress doesn't resonate with you. If you're like the rest of us, however, then there's a pretty good chance that you get stressed out from time to time, especially when it comes to entertaining guests. Few of humanity's greatest thinkers have proffered such a wealth of acerbic witticisms as Anthony Bourdain, who prescribed the following for encountering stressors: "The best thing to do is pull up with a cold beer and let somebody else figure it out," per Parade. As delicious as this prospect might seem in your imagination, allow us to set the scene. It's dinner time on Thanksgiving day and your turkey looks like the baby Xenomorph from the 1979 cinematic masterpiece "Alien." Stressed yet?

No need. Once again, Anthony Bourdain has come to the rescue of disgruntled home cooks with a pearl of simple wisdom. For an easy, impressive turkey dinner, you could make our One-Pan Thanksgiving Dinner in One Hour recipe — or, you could whip out a "stunt turkey."

Dress to impress

The "stunt turkey" is a smaller, painstakingly crafted, give-it-your-all table turkey meant to impress. In his cookbook "Appetites," the chef instructs that the stunt turkey should be dressed to the nines "like a showgirl, with chop frills and elaborate fruit garnishes on a bed of old-school parsley or kale," via Food & Wine. For this little centerpiece, you baste and season and stuff until your nose starts bleeding and your guests are assailing you with thunderous applause. Photos fall from the walls. Your friends remove their jewelry and beg you to take it as payment. Meanwhile, hidden in the kitchen sits the utilitarian bird (aka the "business" turkey) that you actually plan to carve up and serve. This one doesn't have to be photogenic. It doesn't matter at all what it looks like, really, because the only person who's even going to lay eyes on it is you. 

The stunt turkey is a popular tactic among budget-savvy wedding planners, who display a smaller, ornate wedding cake to guests, but the only people it's actually large enough to feed are the bride, groom, and wedding party. The rest of the guests are served slices from a sheet cake in the back. To make a perfect stunt turkey, Bourdain recommends using a 10-pound bird. Aside from the garnishes, butter, salt, and pepper are all it takes to make a turkey that'll wow, says the chef. Everything else you need to make a knockout stock and stuffing is already inside the bird.