Those Troublesome Turkeys

Fifteen years ago I made my first Thanksgiving Dinner as a Happy Housewife. When I was first married I was not a cook. My husband and I lived on a diet of tuna helper, hot dogs, and fettucini alfredo. Our first Thanksgiving I was determined to impress him and decided to cook a full dinner for the two of us. Not only did I want to impress my husband, but I wanted to impress his command. I volunteered to make 20 pounds of mashed potatoes for the sailors and soldiers who had to work that Thanksgiving.

I woke up early and started my meal. I peeled all those potatoes and cooked them. I am pretty sure I clogged the disposal with peels, but I can’t quite remember. After all the potatoes were cooked, I started the mashing part. I had a small hand-held mixer and plunged it into my gigantic bowl of cooked potatoes…and potatoes started flying everywhere! In my complete shock, it took me a few seconds to turn off the mixer, so by the time I had turned it off, my kitchen was covered in mashed potatoes.

After what seemed like hours of cleaning, I was finally able to finish the potatoes and send them with my husband to work. While he was working I began to prepare our own Thanksgiving dinner. I worked very hard all day to make this a perfect meal. When he arrived home from work after 7pm, we sat down to my beautiful meal, complete with my very first turkey.

Everything was going well until we both bit into the turkey and looked at each other. The turkey was uncooked! It was chewy and almost raw. It was all I could do to keep from throwing up. I didn’t understand why the turkey was so underdone. I checked, and the oven was indeed turned on. The turkey had been cooking for over 10 hours, and it wasn’t a big turkey. We put the turkey back in the oven, but both of us were so grossed out, neither of us wanted to try it again. So we just threw it out and enjoyed the other dishes I had prepared.

A few weeks later I made an interesting discovery. My oven was broken! It would only heat to about 200 degrees. Since I rarely used my oven I hadn’t noticed this problem. The few times I had used it, I just thought things took a really long time to cook!

After my first Thanksgiving failure, I spent the next few years avoiding turkeys altogether. We had pizza one year, lasagna another. It took me seven years until I felt confident enough to make another turkey. That turkey was a resounding success, and I have been making them ever since.

For more Friday Show and Tell visit Mary.

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  1. Oh my…that’s funny!

  2. Somebody's Mimi says:

    You’ve come along way baby!! Didn’t you cook a turkey in the dishwasher? Or was it a chicken?

  3. I have been married 20 years, and still haven’t tried baking a turkey. Part of it is that I was raised on dry, overcooked meat. My mother constantly overcooked meat. I vowed to never make a rump roast because I was so sick of eating dry rump roast. I still haven’t gotten up the nerve to even try a turkey — part of it is because it seems like too much work, plus I don’t really care for turkey. I prefer chicken and noodles for Thanksgiving and Christmas. 🙂

  4. That SO sounds like something I would do. I’ve never even tried to cook a whole turkey before. Isn’t that what Boston Market is for?? HeeHee! 🙂

  5. Oh well! At least you didn’t get sick. Turkey is intimidating to roast, to say the least.

  6. Hey, Toni, here’s the link for The Mercantile Library with more info about the others:

    And yes, I pronounced it incorrectly. It’s not ’tile’ like your floor, but ‘teal’ like the color, so say Mercan[teal].

  7. That is to funny. I can only imagine what that must have been like.
    Thanks for sharing and giving me a good laugh.

  8. LOL – that is too funny. That is why my husband makes the turkey around here…. well, whenever he is home.

  9. What a great Thanksgiving Tale! There is nothing like Military Thanksgiving dinners! They are my favorite memories of all.
    My mom made sure your experience never happened to us, so we all ( I have four sister) had to make a Thanksgiving dinner from scratch start to finish before we could leave home. (It was years later I relized how this got HER out of doing it) But she never wanted us to worry about celebrations and our husbands’ families criticing us.

    I made my children do the same thing! It became a tradition!

    Because of Jesus, Bobbie

  10. OH, this brings back memories!
    I tried to make a birthday cake for my mother-in-law the first year we were married. My oven was broken, too, but I didn’t realize that one of the heating elements wasn’t working. At least we were still able to (sort of) enjoy the chocalatey goo that resulted, but I was soooo embarrassed.

    Ick, for undone turkey, though.

  11. He-he! ROTFL
    TWICE I’ve clogged my son’s and DinL’s garbage disposal with peels, resulting in having to “snake’ out the gross drains all the way to the septic tank, my DH and DS on their bellies on the cement floor of the freezing basement of their old farmhouse. NOT a pleasant memory that I was the cause. Thankfully, they got out of that disaster of a house and live in a normal house now, in a development across the street.

    Your story was hilarious, but it probably wasn’t so funny back then. 🙂

  12. Mama Karen says:

    What a cute story!!! Reminds me of early days when I was learning how to cook for my hubby.(-:
    Blessings, Mama Karen

  13. Ohhh this was such a good story !!! It is amazing how we learn when we venture out on our own and all the stories that go with it. [0;

    I am glad you got over the turky troubles and your family gets to enjoy such nice Thanksgivings now. [0=

    Blessings and ((HUGS)) my SSiC
    In Him<

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