Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The royal family’s turkeys are taken out of Berkshire in Scotland
If you’re hosting a Christmas Day lunch, prepare yourself for one special question from guests – especially if you’re one of those people who invite everyone over to your house only to forget to bake the traditional festive recipe.
Last year, the Ministry of Defence trialled the ‘pull back the hatches’ technique.
This year, they decided to beef it up a little further.
The ministry introduced culinary science – the folks behind sweet treats such as marshmallows and fudge – to work out how to best ensure food has adequate moisture and fat for succulent cooking.
They also set up a ‘squid cam’ to monitor the size and movement of the unfortunate turkey.
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Plus, the ministry used a video snapper from the Chinese company which invented the Camilla Jelly
Scientists installed devices on the turkey’s giblets, livers and head.
They let it be immersed in cool water to see how fluid and fat samples – as well as accelerometers – responded to light.
Their conclusions: Served from a tray that had sat in the sun or shed water, there was good moisture and fat, but not as much as would be found in cooked meat such as salmon or hake.
More water and fat was squeezed out of the turkey as it cooked – this helped heat up the meat, which also meant it wasn’t overcooked.
As it turned out, the same process was also to blame for poor turkey flavour.
Even though the shell looked like dry spongy slabs of meat, the interior was full of moisture – which might not be especially appealing to company.
So this year, the Ministry of Defence will again send out invitations to bring their own platters. The turkey, though, will be tucked up in an “apparent tamper-proof container”.
They still leave the festive dinner ahead for Christmas Eve.