Turkey’s Revenge: I Bought a Bone Turkey for Thanksgiving
Friends and food mean a lot when you don’t have much.
We were poor college students, over 1,600 miles from home, when we celebrated our first Thanksgiving as husband and wife.
Holidays make us miss home. But I’ll never forget how proud and excited we felt to host Dave Tricky, a fellow student, and his girlfriend for our first Thanksgiving. (Yes, that’s his real name.)
We were becoming real adults. My bride was 19. I was 20. It was 1976.
We moved the tiny kitchen table to the slightly larger living room and stationed it uncomfortably close to the front door to accommodate the crowd of four.
After the blessing, I ceremoniously stood as the “man” of the house to proudly carve the bird. It was one of life’s great moments. But the knife didn’t slice off tender breast meat. IT HIT BONE!
I poked the blade around. The whole damn turkey was bone. I had purchased a bone turkey! If not for the drumsticks and wings, it would have been vegetarian Thanksgiving.
Dave and his girlfriend probably stopped at a fast food joint on their way home.
After our guests left, I carried the bone-bird to our tiny kitchen to scavenge the remains, defeated. We could use even sparse leftovers.
In the processes of cleaning the carcass, I flipped the bird to find two succulent turkey breasts, laughing at me. I’d carved the bone back of the turkey. We had cooked the bird upside down!
I learned more from that first Thanksgiving than all the rest.
- Humble yourself before a turkey humbles you.
- You don’t always know what you have.
- Sometimes a different approach changes everything.
- One day, if you keep learning, you’ll laugh at how ignorant you used to be.
What have you learned from a “funny” holiday experience?
*This post is a revision of an article I posted on Nov. 22, 2012. Believe it or not, it’s a true story.
Great story and lessons learned.
I have got nothing that comes close!
Thanks Brad. Dumb is funny. 🙂
Sorry Dan, can’t top that one. Grandma always cooked the birds growing for our holidays, so I was always spoiled by her cooking expertise, and everything was homemade!
In regards to what I learned, “share with everyone” on these occasions.
Thanks Tim. My wife is all about homemade. Homemade stuffing, pumpkin pie, and mashed potatoes. We even cut the corn off the cob and freeze it. 🙂
YES! let’s share. Cheers
Great story. We have been married nearly as long as you and have cooked many a turkey. In spite of that vast experience, hen I put it in the roaster Thursday morning, I put it in upside down and would not have caught it if we wouldn’t have stuffed it. Our group was larger than 4 so the meal would have been a little thin with only wings and drum sticks. Am I now at the stage where I can blame it on senility instead of inexperience? Scary thought. 🙂
Hey rpope…LOVE IT! Thanks for jumping in today. I’ve heard that upside down makes the breast meat moist. 🙂
It’s not senility until you don’t notice it’s upside down while the stuffing is dropping out. Cheers
That really IS funny and we all have bone-turkey-head things like that we have done over the years. The good news is that most of us only do them ONCE. But I wonder how many of the managers of people keep cooking and carving their (perceived) turkeys (aka employees) the same way, Thanksgiving after Thanksgiving.
That also reminds me of that oft-told story about the woman who cuts the ends off her roast before putting it into the oven. When asked about it by her daughter, she simply said that her mother had always done it that way. So, the daughter asked her to ask why. She did, and her mother told her that her mother had always done it that way. When the family asked Grandma as to why everyone always cut off the ends of the roast, Grandma said that she HAD to, that the over was too small for her to put the roast in…
Deja vu all over again, it would seem.
And I laugh at myself every day for that old self. Funny, but I was digging through old files and found a cover story in Allegheny College Magazine about the mouse research I did with Pete Elias back in 1970. A water maze, and a focus on retrograde amnesia. That got me to Dook to work with Pete for a semester and to meet Dick King at UNC which eventually got me into grad school working with Dick. Funny how things connect… And I am saving that magazine. Geeze, 1970.
And I am thankful to a lot of people who have helped simple me over so many decades.
Thanks Dr. Scott. Love how you applied this to management. Too funny. I think there’s a lot of potential there.
It is great how one “random” event connects to other “random” events. Reminds me of, “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” – Soren Kierkegaard
That is such a great story lesson, although I’ve never had that experience my mother does all if the cooking in our family. . . So I missed that adventure
When we were in college, our bachelor neighbor decided to fix a turkey for his girlfriend (who later became his wife). He didn’t take out the packet with the giblets, liver and neck that was inside the turkey before he cooked it! They had to eat turkey with us!
Great story, if it makes you feel any better, my Grandmother-in-law used to bake her turkey upside down intentionally. She though it made the breast meat more moist.
I cooked my first turkey this Thanksgiving. My wife has always done the fowl cooking in past years. I made the SAME MISTAKE you told in your recount, though thankfully our guests realized my error before I gave up in despair. Turns out then, as I did some research, this is actually a great way to make sure the breast meat doesn’t dry out!
One lesson: Doing things the “right” way isn’t always best. Alternate approaches can bring about unanticipated and positive rewards.