I know that everyone has heard, or experienced, their share of Thanksgiving Day “episodes”.
Cute, disastrous, dangerous, funny…but always memorable.
Of course, I know a few people (relatives?) who’ve left the bag of gizzards, the neck & whatever else is in that thing, inside the bird when they cooked poor Tom!
That’s actually totally understandable if it’s your first turkey.
But I also know of someone who actually stuffed their turkey…and STILL left that bag in there!
(“BTW, a gall bladder is not covered by a clear plastic bag!”)
This whole Thanksgiving thingie is definitely a learned skill!
One particular time, after Laurie & I were married for only a few months or so, she cooked a nice turkey dinner with all the sides & everything.
It was just us & Donna Stewart Prato Stewart, her best friend (and mine as well, in the female category).
Laurie probably figured that 30 other people were going to suddenly pop in for dinner (Does anyone still call it “supper”??? I do, except if it’s eaten in the afternoon or if it’s an event/holiday) as she had MORE than enough food to accommodate everyone.
Perhaps, not enough room on the table, but more than enough stuff to eat.
I believe it was between the Thanksgiving & Christmas holidays, so we made it our own little turkey holiday.
It would still be a few years before we started our own Thanksgiving tradition, when everyone came to our place instead of us having to travel between, and eating with, both sides of the family.
To ensure we had sufficient table surface, I added the two extra leaves in the middle of the table to make it a good 1/3 longer in length.
I warned everyone about the precarious nature of this table.
Yeah, it looked sturdy as all hell, but we’d gotten it from Laurie’s Grandmother (the lovely & feisty Irene Ross) so it wasn’t exactly brand new. But it was beautiful.
Just like her Grandma.
But, again, it wasn’t brand new.
*Hmmm, I see he repeated that*
Well, we all finally settled ourselves around the table. I was at one head…Laurie sat in the middle…Donna was at the other end.
Not exactly sure if we strategically placed all the dishes/platters on the table according to weight, but Donna definitely had the turkey, stuffing & mashed potatoes down by her.
(Hey, no snide remarks nor insinuations from the peanut gallery…if anything, those suckers should have been right by my side for personal consumption!!!)
Well, we sat down, Donna placed her arms/elbows/some body part on the table when suddenly, that whole part of the table seemed to disintegrate & came crashing down.
This was followed by some screaming & crying & general panic! No villagers were killed during the making of this turkey disaster.
Only a few pieces of turkey hit the floor as it sat on this ginormous platter which then served as pretty-effective landing gear. We had to put only a portion of the potatoes & stuffing to sleep and I think a vegetable dish bit the dust as well.
After the initial shock wore off, we all laughed, even though Donna was pleading her case.
“I didn’t touch anything!” echoed throughout our entire zip code.
Italian grandmothers were hanging out their 2nd floor windows, answering with “Sta ‘zitto! 🤫” as this was Brooklyn & apparently, only they are allowed to raise their voices.
“Who cares? No one got hurt & almost everything survived!”, we said.
(Pssst, Donna was lucky that I had just run out of sodium pentathol the previous day & that there was a short in the lie detector.
And how very strange (coincidental?) it was that there was no film in our interior security cameras so we hadda let her slide without concrete evidence.
I did have to smack the living (?) crap outta the candied yams, ya know, with the li’l marshmallows, as I witnessed them mocking the poor stuffing as it lay on the floor, stunned…but that, too, got a little messy.
So I just ate the disrespectful ones.
And, of course, chewed with my mouth open.
Yes, like a cow.
The stuffing cheered.
Turned out to be a wonderful mid-December holiday meal after all!
Then, for the following Thanksgiving, Laurie & I went to her maternal Grandparents…the aforementioned Irene & her husband, Stanley…at their brownstone in the Sunset Park section of Brooklyn. The rest of Laurie’s family lived in Staten Island so we decided to spend the holiday with her lovely grandparents & keep them company.
I had won a gift certificate for a turkey at my Tuesday night bowling league so I figured this would be an excellent opportunity to put it to good use.
Of course, I picked out the monster bird (I think it came with a whip, chains & other restraints) that weighed in at over 24 pounds!
Laurie went over there at about 7:30 in the morning to put the big guy in the oven…they lived ~2 miles away. Laurie had stuffed it already (those cute li’l Pepperidge Farms cubes & whatever else goes in there).
Nanny was given specific instructions to just “leave it alone…we’ll be over in a little while & take care of everything!”
We arrived there around 10ish with the prerequisite 4 dozen side dishes, antipasto, desserts, coffee, refreshments, etc…a few of Laurie’s relatives were going to meet us after dinner.
Or so they thought.
Everything seemed to be progressing well. It was a Butterball Turkey with the popper thingie to tell you when it was done.
Maybe it was the fact that I basted it a few hundred times as I’m always afraid of the turkey not being juicy enough.
Perhaps it was the fact that we could fit more than one of two other dishes in the oven at the same time Godzilla was lying there.
Maybe the old oven had a faulty temperature gauge.
But the popper didn’t pop until 8:00 at night!
This hadda the bird from Hell! But it tasted absolutely great & wasn’t dry in the least!
Yes, we had MANY, MANY discussions re: “What if the stupid popper is broken?”. I even said that I’d go back home for the meat thermometer.
Meat thermometer?!? 😱😱😱
(Ask your older brother/sister for a translation.)
*remembers what he said previously about the danger of using humor in one’s essay…wags his fingers at several giggling audience members…snarls…feels quite safe whenever he uses the asterisk thingies to insert thoughts & wise cracks throughout the verbiage*
No, she was trusting the popper!
The after-dinner company wound up arriving way before dinner was ready. Waaaaaay before. We forced them to eat again.
OK, one last story before I go…
My ex-fiancé, Trisha (back from my Nebraska days ‘08-‘09) was defrosting her very first Thanksgiving Day turkey (years before I ever met her) in the kitchen sink overnight, a tradition that’s followed in millions of American households every year.
Yes, she remembered to clean out the insides before cooking the turkey, silly!
She did her thing, prepared her famous oyster stuffing (where she would always buy an extra can to eat the night before), prepared most of the side dishes…everything was perfect.
When the bird was done (I believe it may have been a non-Butterball one), she proudly removed it from the oven.
One of the men in the house was, naturally, assigned to do the carving.
As he lifted the bird out of the big ol’ roasting pan & onto a cutting board, they noticed something a little strange with the bottom of the turkey.
And there it was…
The drain stopper from the kitchen sink!
Apparently, during the defrosting process, it adhered to the frozen underside & decided to come along for the ride when it was time to prepare & cook Tom.
Thank God she defrosted it in the kitchen sink and not the bathroom sink nor the tub.
OK, those are my turkey tales from, yes, the biggest turkey of ‘em all!
Thank you so very much for listening!