Your Biggest Thanksgiving Disasters, Shared
We put out a call on Facebook for our followers’ biggest Turkey Day fiascos. Here are some of our favorite humorous tales of Thanksgivings past.
The Thanksgiving of my 9th or 10th year, my mom and dad got up at 5am to start the turkey in the old white Westinghouse roaster. They got the bird stuffed and into the roaster before noticing that the roaster’s lid would not fit because the bird was too big. It was decided that my dad would climb on a chair and push down on the lid to break the turkey’s breastbone so that it would fit. He got up on the chair and pushed really hard. Instead of breaking the breast, he managed to shoot the stuffing out the back of the bird, up the window, cabinet, and curtains, and onto the ceiling, where it quickly hardened to a cement-like state. The story lives on, even though Dad is gone. —Kim Collins-Little
My mom made a wonderful turkey with all the trimmings, and my dad carved and served a platter of slices. The rest of the bird was in the kitchen, behind a closed door. We all dug in, and after a short while heard a large thump, followed by scraping noises. Mom investigated and found that our cat Helen (aka Hellion) had dragged the turkey carcass off the counter and onto the floor, and was making for the back door. Mom played tug of war with the cat while the rest of us laughed until we cried. — Ginny Panther
I was about 5, and Thanksgiving for 20 was at Gramma’s house. I had to wear a dress and the old Victorian was always stifling hot, so I was not happy. Grampa walked through the swinging doors from the kitchen with a huge turkey on a platter so he could carve it at the head of the table. In slow motion, he tripped, and the turkey took off and skidded all the way through the dining room and crashed into the front door. Dead silence. Grampa walked to the door, picked up the turkey, put it back on the platter, and proceeded to carve. Without a word, Grandma retired to her bedroom. —Sandy Boyd
After starting my turkey days before, brining and drying it and then getting up at the crack of dawn to pack it full of herbs and butter and aromatics, and finally roasting and resting it to perfection, my family suggested that the eldest male carve it (thanks, traditional gender roles…) He was about to slice off the breast with what can only be described as a small machete when I let out a gasp. As I (the youngest sister, known for being bossy) listened to everyone chastise me for being a control freak, I got a proper knife and removed the breast to slice and serve. Just couldn’t watch my beautiful bird go out like that. —Anne Franks
It was my first time making a turkey, and I followed the thawing instructions to a T: Thaw turkey for three days. Except I thawed it on the counter and not in the fridge. Nothing like food poisoning for the holidays! (We didn’t eat the turkey.) —Jennifer Pereira Ilarraza
I was 9 years old. My oldest brother had just discovered that cooking was his passion, so he and my mom planned this huge Thanksgiving feast. They cooked one of the three ginormous turkeys on the BBQ. It was so smoky that the neighbors called 911. The fire department took a look, laughed, and went on their way. My little brother got so excited about the fire engine coming that he called 911 so they would come back. They did, and left again. Meanwhile, I’d made pans of baklava and apple turnovers because 9-year-old me was amazing with filo dough. The party was an all-out success. Even the fire-and-brimstone preacher and the gay server were friends by the end. I, however, am autistic and had several sensory-overload meltdowns, and ended up spending the evening underneath the table hiding. My cousin stole me bottles of apple cider to cheer me up. —Rachel Hoffman
We got the bird out of the oven and it was beautiful. With the turkey on a big cutting board. we started making the gravy. My mom and I used my grandma’s technique and added flour and water to the drippings in the roasting pan and stirred and stirred. Taste test: pretty bad. We discovered that we’d scraped up all the Teflon coating from the pan. No gravy that year! —Susan Gordon
We’d just bought a new trailer, and told the guy be sure to connect the stove to electric not gas. The in-laws came, the bird came out a beautiful golden brown in the right amount of time. We sliced off some of the leg—not even close to done. Ate rest of dinner and finally had turkey (sandwiches) at about 10:30—about 14 hours after the bird went in the oven. —Kathie Tarr
Thanksgiving in San Diego can sometimes be as warm as the height of summer. One Friendsgiving, we were cranking the A/C and had the oven going and crockpots plugged in, when all of a we blew a breaker. I went to the neighbors’ for oven space and outlets, and then invited them all over to join us as a thank you—and they came. What an amazing experience of community and fellowship! —Lisa Tamayo-Richardson
Years ago, I had to be out of town away from family the week of Thanksgiving, and I was staying with friends who I thought had planned to have a small holiday dinner with me. Instead, they got a last-minute invite to a large dinner hosted by a friend of a friend, a high-profile philanthropist type whom I’d met a couple of times. When they asked her if they could bring me along, she said no. So my friends ran off to a lovely holiday meal filled with fellowship and lavish food and I sat in front of the TV crying over cheese and crackers. I promised myself that I’d never turn away the odd stray person at any future holiday table of mine and I never have. It may have actually been one of the better Thanksgivings because of the lesson learned. —Kim Fisher
Read the 2021 Wellness Issue
To read: Click on the right and left arrows at the edge of the box to turn pages; to make the text larger, click on the fullscreen icon in the lower-right corner (desktop) or in the center (mobile).