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 know someone who actually stuffed their turkey…and STILL left that bag in there!
It’s definitely a learned skill, despite your particular heritage.
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 (Prato, then 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” ???) so 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 make it our own little turkey day. (It would still be a few years before we started our own Thanksgiving tradition, when everyone came to our place instead of traveling between, and eating with, both sides of the family.)
To ensure we had sufficient table surface, I added the two extra “planks” 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. I believe we’d gotten it from Laurie’s Grandmother (the lovely & feisty Irene Ross) so it wasn’t exactly brand new. But it was beautiful.
But, again, it wasn’t brand new.
*Hmmm, I see he repeated that*
Well, as we all settled ourselves around the table. I was at one head, although it was probably the ass…Laurie sat in the middle…Donna was at the other end.
Not exactly sure if we strategically placed 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 have to put just a portion of the potatoes & stuffing to sleep and I think a vegetable dish bit the dust.
After the initial shock wore off, we all laughed, even though Donna was pleading her case.
“I didn’t touch anything!” echoed throughout our zip code.
“Who cares? No one got hurt & almost everything survived!”, we said.
(Pssst, she’s lucky that I had just run out of sodium pentathol the previous day & that there was a short in the lie detector, but we let her slide nonetheless.)
I did have the smack the living (?) crap outta the candied yams with the li’l marshmallows as I witnessed them mocking the poor stuffing as it lay on the floor, stunned…but that got a little too messy so I just ate the disrespectful ones. And I chewed with my mouth open.
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 Ross…at their place in Brooklyn. The rest of Laurie’s family lived n Staten Island so we decided to spend the holiday with them.
I had won a gift certificate for a turkey at work so I figured this would be a great opportunity to use it.
Of course, I picked out the monster bird (I think it came with a whip & chain!) that weighed in at over 26 pounds.
Laurie went over there at about 7:30 AM to put the big guy in the oven…they lived ~2 miles away. Can’t specifically remember if she had stuffed it already (or made that dish on the side).
Nanny was given instructions to just “leave it alone…we’ll be over in a little while & take care of everything!”
We arrived there around 10:00 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 li’l popper thing 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. Perhaps it was the fact that we could fit more than one of two other dishes on the oven at the same time Godzilla was in there. Maybe the old oven had a faulty temperature gauge.
But the popper didn’t pop until almost 8:00 PM!!!
This was the bird from Hell! But it tasted great & wasn’t dried out in the least!
Yes, we had MANY discussions re: “What if the stupid popper is broken?”. I said I’ll go back home for the meat thermometer.
*remembers what he said previously about the danger of using humor in one’s presentation…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/Florida/Ohio days ‘08-‘12) 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), did all the side dishes & gravy…everything was perfect.
When the bird was done (I believe it may have been a non-Butterball one), we 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 cooking pan & onto a cutting board, they noticed something a little strange with the back of the turkey (the side on the bottom while cooking).
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.
“The turkey’s absolutely delicious, Trisha, albeit a little, er, stringy. Didn’t think turkeys had a lot of fur these days…”
OK, those are my turkey tales from, yes, the biggest turkey of ‘em all!
Thank you so much for listening!