The Turkey King | November 30, 2022

Holy buckets, tomorrow is December.  Please say a prayer for Kyle, whose wife wouldn’t let him put up Christmas decorations until after Thanksgiving.  I know that “Christmas tree timing” is a hot topic and I really have no opinion except that I am in possession of a bunch of Thanksgiving décor and am Toy Story-aware of the feelings of my box of paper mâché turkeys.  As always, my sweet husband tries to be mindful of the fact that I, too, have a holiday by suggesting we also display Hanukkah decorations, which…what would that be?  A baby pool filled with oil?

Speaking of oil, this American Thanksgiving Kyle deep-fried our turkey.  I say “American” because this was our second deep-fried turkey in 2022 (and ever); we also had deep-fried Canadian Thanksgiving turkey, and that’s what I’m going to tell you about today.

As I’ve said in the past, Canadian Thanksgiving is exactly the same as American Thanksgiving, except that it’s on a Monday in October and it’s Canadian.  This year, we decided to invite our eleven-year-old’s hockey team to our Canadian Thanksgiving dinner because their fall hockey season had recently ended and, more importantly, they are our friends.  They are so much our friends that 1) I didn’t even bother to clean the house before the party (meh, they’ve seen it), and 2) when we sent the invite everyone immediately RSVP’d with the food they were going to bring, even though at no point did I say it was a potluck, because that’s what friends do (and especially what hockey friends do).

Our guests ended up volunteering so much stuff – including their own chairs – that all I needed to provide was the turkey.  I did some quick math and figured that adults-plus-players-plus-siblings meant we could have up to fifty people, and so I would need two turkeys.  No problem, I said to Kyle, I would make one turkey on Saturday (the day before the dinner) and one on Sunday (the day of).

“We’ll be out of town Friday and Saturday for a wedding,” Kyle reminded me.  “Do you want me to see if someone else can do a turkey?”

“No,” I said, mindful of the fact that if I didn’t make the turkeys I would be nothing more than a guest at my own soiree.  “I’ll figure something out.”

Here is The Something I figured out: I would get up early and roast one turkey at 8:00am, and the second at noon.  I quadruple-checked the turkey weights and cooking times, and was 1000% solid on the fact that I could get two turkeys roasted and carved by the 5:00pm dinner.  Plus, I’d have the back-up meatballs (if you’ve been reading this blog for a while you know that I always make back-up beef), which would go in the crockpot and wouldn’t be subject to any oven-related issues, should they appear.

The Thursday before the party, as I was packing up for the wedding, Kyle said to me,

“Oh, I told all the dads about the wedding issue and they said we could deep fry one of the turkeys.  It would be much faster, only 45 minutes.”

“But we don’t have a deep fryer,” I said.  “And we don’t know how to deep fry a turkey.”

“Don’t worry about that,” Kyle said with a wave of his hand.  “The dads and I got this.”

Normally, this would be the kind of last-minute laissez faire that would be ripe for a-fightin’ – but, as noted, these were our friends and I knew they would never leave me uncooked…nor would they care if things didn’t go perfectly.  Also, back-up beef.

“Sounds good,” I said.

Sho’nuff, by Sunday morning my patio was graced by one of the dad’s deep frying equipment.  Kyle moved it into the garage while I got the first turkey in the oven.

“Do you know how to set up a turkey deep fryer?”  I asked him.

“Probably,” he said.  “We’ll do it after hockey.”  (OH YEAH, I forgot to mention that; the boys had a skate directly before dinner.)

“Is that enough time?”  I asked.

“Yes,” he said.  “It only takes 45 minutes.  We’ll come here after hockey at 4, set up, and have the turkey ready to eat by 5.  We got this.”

“Sounds good,” I said.

Turkey #1 was done right at noon.  I pulled it out of the oven as Kyle set down his coffee and started arbitrarily injecting and rubbing Turkey #2 with random objects.

“Are you supposed to do that?”  I asked.

“Yes,” Kyle said.  He held up the injector.  “This was in the box.”

“Are you sure you don’t want me to roast it?”  I asked.

“Yep,” Kyle said.  “We got this.”

“Are you sure…” I said, pointing at the empty oven, and then, “Sounds good.”

Since I had a few extra hours on my hands, I pulled up YouTube because I figured it might be helpful if at least one person in the Kosior household was educated on the turkey frying process.  After sorting through a LOT of content about house fires (one of our guests was a firefighter, so that was his problem), I learned that the oil had to be heated before the turkey went in.

“The oil needs to be heated before the turkey goes in,” I said to Kyle as we cleaned up from lunch.

“Oh, okay,” Kyle said.

At 2:30pm, as Kyle was pulling out of the driveway for hockey, I shouted,

“Do you want me to start the oil while you are gone?”

And Kyle shouted back, “Nope, we got this.”

“Are you sure…” I shouted back, but he didn’t hear me.

Or maybe he did – because, twenty minutes later, I heard shuffling out in the garage.  Our next-door neighbor (and party guest) was maneuvering the deep fryer onto a makeshift platform out the side door.

“Kyle said you were a little worried about time,” he said, dumping the oil into the pot.

“I’m a little worried about all of it,” I said.

“Not to worry,” he said.  “We got this.”

“So I’ve heard,” I said.

Kyle was the fourth dad to arrive at the house after hockey.  By that point, the first three dads – including the neighbor – were standing around the deep fryer looking at the temperature gauge.

“’Bout ten more degrees,” one of them said.

Another one tapped his hand on the side of the pot to confirm.  “Yep, gettin’ there.”

The third nudged the stand with his toe and said, “Yep.”

Kyle, who had been wandering around the garage, took that “Yep” as his cue to go into the house.  He emerged a few minutes later with an apron, gloves, and the turkey on the fryer stick(?  Grabber?  Unknown).  He lowered the turkey into the deep fryer with the confidence of a man who had kerplunked a turkey in oil thousands of times before and was not doing it for the very first time without watching a single YouTube video – and then immediately wandered off again.  His spot was replaced by two more dads, who also looked at the temperature gauge.

Those five dads stood around the turkey for forty-five minutes.  At the end of the forty-five minutes, Kyle appeared from wherever he was, lifted the turkey out, set it on a cutting board in the kitchen, and, again, disappeared into the night.  The five dads, plus two more, came inside as I was taking the turkey’s temperature.  It was 15 degrees shy.

“It’ll get there; let it rest,” my neighbor said.

“Put it in the oven,” another dad said.

“Let it rest, then put it in the oven,” another dad said.

They stood around debating it for the next ten minutes – during which the turkey’s temperature got to its appropriate degree.  As per his M.O., Kyle came back from the mall or whatever and carved the turkey.  It was delicious.

That night, after we hadn’t cleaned up because everyone else had already done it, Kyle said to me,

“Deep-frying that turkey was really easy.”

“Easy for who?”  I asked.

“Yep, pretty easy,” he said, ignoring me.  “I’m going to do it for American Thanksgiving.”

“Better put the dads on speed-dial,” I said.


The photo above is of Kyle and his dad holding up the walls of the garage while the American Thanksgiving turkey was in the deep fryer.  It, too, was delicious.

This week’s news has a Toy Farmer, a real farmer, and a lot of nice people looking to make the holidays bright for seniors and families. Read on.


The Grand Forks Santa Claus Girls are at it for the 106th year, delivering 1,400 gift packages to low-income families around the community with the help of donors such as Deeks Pizza. (Grand Forks Herald)

A management class at Mandan High School cooked up Thanksgiving dinner for five Roosevelt Elementary families. (KFYR TV)

Speaking of Thanksgiving, the Jamestown community put on its 31st free Thanksgiving meal, distributing 1,060 drive-up dinners. (Jamestown Sun)

Live in Fargo?  Home Instead is looking for donors to help purchase 500 gifts for isolated seniors this year. (Valley News Live)

Live in Grand Forks?  Alexis Kringstad is putting together gift boxes for area elementary school families and is looking for dollars to make it happen. (Grand Forks Herald)

A mobile meats lab is making its way around southwest North Dakota to teach kids about ag careers. (KFYR TV)

Happy 111th birthday to Fargo’s Helene Sandvig! (Fargo Forum)

Kyle sent me this article with the note, “This guy is my hero.”  Dickinson’s John Jaeger is 92 years old and still farming…with his vintage equipment. (Dickinson Press)

This is the story of Toy Farmer magazine, which has been publishing from LaMoure since 1978. (Grand Forks Herald)


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A whole to-do about zucchini | October 5, 2022

This is one of the best times of the year, isn’t it? The leaves are beginning to change, the air is crisp but warm, everything is covered in pumpkins and apples (the two cutest fruit), and everyone looks great in autumn sunshine. Sometimes I’ll walk out into this perfection and think, please make this one day last for three weeks. Like, let it be this exact Monday for three weeks, and then tomorrow it will be that exact Tuesday for another three weeks, and so on until January, when we can have five normal-length days of snow and then roll right into spring. I’d really like that.

Speaking of fall, North Dakota is thick into harvest.  When we moved to town last year, Kyle brought two parts of the country with him: A spot for Kyle the kids to pee outside (SO GREAT LOVE THIS SO MUCH NEXT I’M GONNA STICK A TOILET IN THE MIDDLE OF THE LIVING ROOM SO EVERYONE CAN GO WHENEVER THEY PLEASE), and a very large garden plot.  Kyle’s garden plot at the new house is almost the same square footage as the one in the country – which was size-appropriate when we had six acres but a little aggressive in town.  That’s okay, though, because I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a point in history when a farmer has looked at their crop and thought, “You know, this is just too much food.”

Kyle spent a couple of weeks in the early spring tilling up the corners of the yard and building garden boxes, and then one solid day planting all sorts of vegetable and fruit seeds in neat rows.  That night, he took me outside to show off his hard work.

“Here are the sunflowers,” he pointed proudly.  “And here are the beets.  And here are the cucumbers.  And here, and here, and over there, and over there are the zucchini.”

“Oh, boy,” I said.  “That’s a lot of zucchini.  How much zucchini did you plant?”

“The whole packet,” he told me.

“Ohhh, boyyy,” I said in that high-octave tone a person uses when their friend tells you they are going to get their face tattooed to look like Frosty the Snowman.  “Remember the last time we planted the whole packet of zucchini?”

The last time we planted a whole packet of zucchini, we ended up with a lot of zucchini.  Here’s the thing about zucchini: it’s not universally beloved.  It’s the broccoli of the squash family.  Actually, it’s the squash of the squash family because most of society can only eat so much squash before it’s like, “Hey, let’s stick this on the front step for decoration.”  Kyle and I had the university president out to the (country) house and forced him to take a trunkful of zucchini home with him and then he announced he was leaving UND a year later, which was not a coincidence.  Even the food pantry couldn’t give it all away.

For the past month, we have been awash in zucchini.  Awash.  Then, this past weekend, Kyle announced that it was time for Kosior Harvest; he was pulling the garden.

“Head’s up,” he said.  “There are quite a few zucchini still out there.”

“How many?”  I asked.

Nine.  There were nine giant zucchini, each roughly the size of three normal-sized ones.  No matter, I told Kyle, I had a plan.  I would turn them all into zucchini bread.  While zucchini is not a fan favorite, everyone loves zucchini bread – especially our children (who won’t eat it if they think it’s zucchini bread but will fight one another for every piece if we say it’s banana bread; so, if you ever come to our house and we serve you banana bread, there’s a 99% chance it’s zucchini bread).  We would be awash in zucchini bread.  Awash.

Except here’s the thing – I don’t do well with long projects.  For example, I am a great taper but a terrible house painter because I will tape the trim on a room and think, “Meh, I’m done.”  I went through a knitting phase where I completed fifty scarves and still have an unfinished blanket – my very first project – shoved in the shame corner of my office closet because I got a couple of feet in and went, “Meh, I’m done.”

On Sunday morning, I woke up and announced to the world that I would spend the day making loaves of zucchini banana bread.  My seven-year-old offered to help, and so we got out all of the stuff necessary to shred zucchini: a cutting board and knife (to cut the zucchini), the Cuisinart (to shred the zucchini), the strainer (to strain some of the water out of the zucchini), and two bowls (one for the straining zucchini, and one for the strained zucchini).

Our process was this: Seven would go out and get one zucchini.  I’d peel it and chop it into Cuisinart-sized chunks, and then Seven would run the shredder.  While I was emptying the Cuisinart into the strainer, Seven would go outside for the next zucchini.  We did this four times before Seven, true to his birthright, said, “Meh, I’m done,” and wandered off to go play.  Ha ha, that scamp, I laughed to myself as I finished off the other five zucchini.  I cleaned up the kitchen, washed all of the equipment, took out the garbage, set out the ingredients and loaf pans for zucchini bread, and thought, “Meh, I’m done.”

I spent the next half-hour Googling, “How long can shredded zucchini last in the fridge” (one week), and “How to use up twenty pounds of shredded zucchini” (zucchini bread) before giving in and making one double batch (four loaves).  While those four loaves were baking, I packaged up all of the rest of the zucchini into ziplock bags and put them in the deep freeze “to use later.”

“You can substitute shredded zucchini for oil in most recipes,” I told Kyle as he hauled out 900 bags of shredded zucchini.

“Oh, boy,” Kyle said.  “Maybe I’ll plant even more next year.”

“Ohhh, boyyy,” I said.

The photo above is of me and my zucchini bread.  I don’t know why I’m smiling like a nutjob; maybe because I had just spent five precious weekend hours dealing with zucchini.

This week’s news has baseball players, tree planters, and axe throwers. Read on.


Ballers in Devils Lake raised money (with a baseball tournament, in case my nickname wasn’t obvious) for families in need of financial assistance. (Devils Lake Journal)

The city of Bismarck, with the help of Boy Scout Troop 6, will be planting 150 trees in celebration of the city’s 150th birthday. (KX Net)

In close-enough-to-North-Dakota Nice news, Native Artist Laura Youngbird has installed a new piece called “Mishipechu” in Breckenridge. (Wahpeton Daily News)

Competitors from 23 states were AXE-ing (get it) to win the first “Far Thro” axe throwing tournament in Fargo. (Valley News Live)

Mandan’s Ty Breuer is headed back to Las Vegas for the National Finals Rodeo. (KFYR TV)

Grand Forks’ “Way Cooler Than You Think!” website is an international award winner. (Grand Forks Herald)


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The Kitchen Scissors: A Kosior Mystery Series #204 | August 17, 2022

The sun was shining, the kids were happy, and it had taken me the good part of the afternoon to roll off my lawn chair in search of a snack.

“Grab me a glass of lemonade while you’re in there, will you?”  Kyle had said, his eyes closed beneath the book that lay open over his face.

In the kitchen, I made a big show about washing off an apple before shoving a handful of stale Cheetos in my mouth.  I opened the fridge and pulled out the pitcher of pink lemonade which, unsurprisingly, was down to the last tablespoonful.  Fortunately for Kyle (and all of the neighborhood’s little lemonade lovers who had left half-full glasses all over the counter), we had a secret powdered drink stash in case the need for a flash lemonade stand arose.  I dug it out of the back of the pantry, and went to retrieve the kitchen scissors to cut the plastic wrap off the container.

When we were wed, Kyle and I had been gifted a conch shell-shaped pewter salad bowl, a combination rice cooker-vegetable steamer, and a knife block filled with a variety of knives and a pair of kitchen scissors.  After sixteen years, most of the knives had been replaced (see Why is the Bread Knife in the Garage?: A Kosior Mystery Series #118), but the kitchen scissors lived on, shearing everything from shipping box tape to broken fishing line to any other manner of items that really didn’t belong in the kitchen and please take them out in the garage and stop right there, you don’t need the bread knife.

That is, of course, until that fateful Sunday.

I leaned out the patio door.

“Hey, where are the kitchen scissors?”  I called to Kyle.

“In the knife block?”  He replied, helpfully, as one would to a person who had never before been in her own kitchen.

I didn’t bother to look back at the knife block, where the spot for the kitchen scissors was void and dark.

“Nope,” I said.

Kyle took the book off his face.  “On the counter?”

“No.”

“In the fridge?”  (see Time to Put Away the Groceries and Oh Hey The Remote’s in the Vegetable Drawer: A Kosior Mystery Series #8, #71, and #119)

I checked the fridge.  Nothing.

“They’ll turn up,” Kyle said, as our youngest, Seven, came screeching into the yard with a bloody knee.

The next morning, I went to cut the itchy tag off of Seven’s t-shirt and found the kitchen scissors had not magically reappeared overnight.

“Where are the kitchen scissors?”  I asked his brother, Eleven, as he powered through his second bowl of cereal.

“I don’t know; Seven probably took them,” he said confidently.

“I did not!”  Seven shouted indignantly.  “You took them!”

“I did not!”  Eleven shouted back.

“He always BLAMES ME for EVERYTHING!”  Seven stomped on the floor.

“YOU ALWAYS DO EVERYTHING!”  Eleven waved his arm about his head as if to point to 100% of the objects and situations in the house and beyond.

“MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMM HE’S BLAMING ME FOR EVERYTHING,” Seven burst into tears.

Twenty minutes later, after the required apologies and third bowls of cereal, I returned to the question regarding the kitchen scissors.

“Someone probably stole them,” Seven said, his mouth full of his brother’s Cheerios, which tasted better than his own.

“Why would someone steal them?”  I asked.

Seven thought for a moment.  “Because they needed them,” he said.

His point was irrefutable: The kitchen scissors were missing and no one in the house had allegedly moved them; the only possible scenario was that someone had broken in for the sole purpose of stealing the scissors and nothing else.  I was ready to order a standing bulletin board and mugshot printer so as to start my investigation of possible scissors thieves when Kyle appeared from his office and said,

“Maybe the scissors are in the basement.”

For all intents and purposes, the basement of the house had been turned over to our children and their friends.  Once a week, Kyle and I would ruin our sons’ lives by making them put away their toys and take down their makeshift knee hockey rink.  Then, after they were in bed, Kyle and I would go down and actually straighten up to my our liking.  It was in this second-tier clean-up that we often recovered items previously considered lost (or stolen – see The Case of the Missing Crapped-Up Flip-Flops: A Kosior Mystery Series #199) forever.  Maybe the kitchen scissors were in the basement.

Two days later, despite dozens of children and adults tromping up and down the basement stairs, no one had pointedly looked for the scissors.  Also, Kyle had temporarily replaced the kitchen scissors with his office scissors…so, you know, problem solved or whatever.

Finally, in an effort to reclaim his scissors and move on to more pressing matters (see The Adventures of the Wiffle Balls Which Should Be In The Backyard But Are Not: A Kosior Mystery Series #205), Kyle put our best man on the case: Seven.

“Hey, buddy, if you find the kitchen scissors we’ll get ice cream tonight,” Kyle said.

Seven immediately retreated to the basement and returned moments later, kitchen scissors in hand.

“I knew right where they were!”  He said proudly.  “Yep, right where I left them.”

It was an inside job, but the culprit was cute so we let it slide…this time.  For now, the kitchen scissors (and the bread knife) are back where they belong.

The photo above is of the scene of the crime.

This week’s news has a book written by a group of third graders, towns full of pollinator gardens and chalk art, and a Renaissance Faire.  Read on.


Led by their teacher, Tammy Gapinski, a group of Jamestown third-graders have published a book entitled, “Goodnight Jamestown” featuring local landmarks. (News Dakota)

Jim and Dale Nelson are displaying their family’s 100+ collection of clocks at the Dickinson Museum Center through the end of the month. (KFYR TV)

Minot now has five pollinator gardens – one in a roundabout – thanks to The Minot Pollinator Project. (KFYR TV)

The Red River Valley Motorcyclists recently donated over $40,000 to organizations for veterans and fallen law enforcement officers. (Grand Forks Herald)

For the past seven years, the streets and sidewalks of Dickinson have come alive with chalk. (Dickinson Press)

North Dakota is now home to our very own Renaissance Faire, and if you’re going to go you may want to consider a costume – check out the photos in the article. (Fargo Forum)

The Bismarck Larks’ first-ever “Kid of the Year” is a 12-year-old named Eva Brooke, who handed out “blessing bags” to homeless people in the community. (KFYR TV)

The all-volunteer Mandan Rural Fire Department is turning 60. (KFYR TV)


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