To Turkey or Not to Turkey…

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Asked a doctor friend of mine what his two cents of advice would be to all of us so we don’t come out of this holiday season looking like the bird we just baked. 
He said, “I tell my patients to remember that these occasions are called ‘holidays,’ not ‘holi-weeks’ or ‘holi-months.’ Pass another cookie.” 
The girls started preparing for our Thursday feast last night by baking a bunch of Hershey’s kiss peanut butter cookies. I wonder if anyone will notice if we skip the turkey and go straight to coffee and dessert?
For the record, I actually do like to cook. I can even follow a recipe and have mastered a meal or two. It’s the turkey thing I sort of dread.What can I say? I grew up celebrating Thanksgiving with all the helpings — mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, corn bread, etc.– but the sides surrounded a steaming pot of curry chicken. 

When I got married, I thought, I can do this. How hard can it be? Just Google it, right?
Plus I’d seen my friend Meghan bake five huge turkeys in Dominica in a feast made to feed the entire medical school that our husbands attended. She recruited a few of us to help, and let’s just say I wanted to bury the grater six feet under after peeling a guzillion potatoes. After hours of team work, every countertop in her apartment was covered with the colors and scents of a traditional American Thanksgiving, and all those students away from home rolled out that evening, bellies full and faces a’grinnin!
So several years later when I decided to try the turkey thing on my own, my oven died. No joke. Seconds after the turkey timer went off, our oven gasped its last breath, as if the bird had literally sucked the life out it. That year, with the help of the Reynold’s oven bag, I did nothing more than set it and forget it. Hours later, the house smelled yumilicious, and we had an oven to ditch. 
I don’t know if the tryptophan kicked in, but I looked out my bay window and had a total Flintstones moment. Remember that episode [okay, I’m dating myself] but there was this classic episode where Fred and Barney race down a hill after a runaway piano. Outside the window, I saw my hubby and his best friend chasing the oven down the street. The wheels on the dolly with the incline coupled together to create a momentum neither of them expected. I’m just glad the guys managed to stop the runaway oven without getting run over. 

“Please Officer. I can explain. It’s a total coincidence that we just increased my husband’s life insurance. Really. Want some turkey? Can we talk this out over some pumpkin pie? Coffee?”
A few years later, with the help of our new handy dandy digital oven, we took another shot at the turkey Thanksgiving. We had a house full of people, all anxiously awaiting the honorary bird to emerge from the shiny new oven. Except that somehow, someone, at some point, bumped the button and turned the oven off. I’m so glad someone noticed, but at this point, everyone sat starving, and I had no clue how much longer Tom needed tending. Sheesh. I restarted the oven and fed my guests a second round of spinach dip, chips and salsa. 
To alleviate the pressure of preparing the perfect bird, last year we baked turkey meatloaf in place of Tom. Needless to say, it just wasn’t the same. So Tom’s coming back this year. Like Jordan coming out of retirement, I hope Tom has better luck this November. A chair barricade in front of the oven should do the trick. 

Regardless, nothing compares to the best part of Thanksgiving: 
Sharing what I’m thankful for with family and friends I am so thankful for. 
And leftovers. Of course. 
So what’s your turkey tale? Or your favorite item on the menu? 

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6 thoughts on “To Turkey or Not to Turkey…

  1. My dishwasher died this week and I have six guests on there way over. I just put up a tent in the front room for the extra kids. Baked till midnight last night, and still have pies to make, stressing because I was told my 15 pound turkey was not large enough (I’m a vegetarian, how was I supposed to do all that meat math?), so I’m supplementing it with sides and my personal favorites – baked goods, with ice cream, and whipped cream. Happy Day Mama.

  2. We’re skipping the bird this year and going to Busch Gardens. Our plan is to buy their meal plan and eat our way around the park. Just for one day though… okay Sunny?1

  3. Ahem…everything was under control. No one was injured…thankfully. And that oven had to go. Good times. Probably one of my favorite memories. :)