Talking Turkey: Tales of Horror from 'Round the Dinner Table

From food failures to disgruntled guests, Thanksgiving lends itself to mishaps as well as fonder memories. Share your Turkey Day flops and faux pas here.

There was the year I forgot to take the turkey out of the freezer. The time a slightly odd uncle yanked my mother-in-law's hair. And then there was the day of the flying turkey ...

My mother, a bit of a perfectionist, was the Thanksgiving hostess that year. She was momentarily alone in the kitchen when I heard her gasp. None of the other chattering relatives seemed to notice.

I slipped into the kitchen and beheld the beautifully browned turkey upside down on the kitchen floor, leaking bits of savory stuffing everywhere. Somewhere between roasting pan and platter, the turkey — perhaps disgruntled by its Thanksgiving fate — took a dive.

Mom, with a proper regard for hygiene, was prepared to discard the turkey, stuffing and all, and substitute a non-traditional emergency entree. I had no such qualms.

I gently pushed my mother out the kitchen door and restored the dusted-off turkey to a place of glory on its platter, complete with handfuls of salvaged stuffing. Moments later it was lying in state on the dining table, ready for carving.

No one complained of tummy troubles later. And neither Mom nor I ever told.

Do you have a tale of Thanksgiving trauma? Share it in the comments section below. I promise not to tell ...

Charlotte Tlachac November 22, 2011 at 07:21 PM
A group of folks whose families were all from out-of-state would congregate annually at the home of friends who loved to cook. The orphan dinner was officially declared a true Thanksgiving when the host and hostess began bickering about the "proper" way to make the gravy. Every year...same argument...same result...two gravy boats. And a lot of happy memories.
Nancy Johnsen Horton November 23, 2011 at 04:25 PM
One year my parents hosted the entire family in their small house. They left two mincemeat pies to cool in their bedroom. When it was time for pie, Dad went to retrieve them, and they were crawling with ants. He panicked and threw one pie in the driveway, breaking the pie dish. Mom calmly took the other one, microwaved it, brushed off the dead ants and served it with lots of whipped cream.
Renate Valencia November 23, 2011 at 06:20 PM
In 2000 my parents came to visit us in Cali for Thanksgiving. We bought a tremendous amount of food and were looking forward to the holiday. A couple of days into their visit we came down with salmonella....one at a time. On Thanksgiving Day we were all so bad off we could hardly lift our heads. My husband, son and I didn't make the meal until my parents were back in New York the next week.
Anne Mobley November 25, 2011 at 02:22 AM
After one fabulous Thanksgiving dinner with relatives, one of the guests brought a gooey chocolate cake from Blum's. Mom had just read or heard that the best way to cut and serve a cake was to have a glass of hot water to dip the knife into. Mom had the cake on a plate in her left hand, glass of hot water and knife in her right hand, and proceeded through the swinging door from the kitchen into the dining room, dropping the cake upside down on the hardwood floor. Mom was mortified. The plate did not break and the floor was spotless. We righted the cake the best we could and served it anyway. Blum's cakes were good any way you had them. If you ask my husband he would tell you how shocked he was our first Thanksgiving. He thought our family was arguing, but little did he know at the time that Italians talk rather loudly and he mistook our discussions for arguments. He got used to it after a while.
Alameda Resident November 26, 2011 at 05:46 PM
There was the Thanksgiving when we killed the garbage disposal and clogged the sink with potato peels and leek trimmings. That was back in the day before green waste recycling even existed (other than home compost piles, which we didn't have room for in our tiny yard). I think my hubby managed to snake the drain into functionality, but it still wasn't working right and we didn't want to call a plumber because it would have cost a fortune and we were pretty broke at the time. Definitely put a damper on the proceedings.


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