The bird that would not cook

Carving turkey

Can you die of a carb overdose? Like is that a thing?

I love everything about the traditional Thanksgiving meal but it must be admitted that on no other day of the year would we enjoy two kinds of potatoes, mashed and sweet, stuffing, green beans and an assortment of pie all in ONE meal.

I swear I lost three hours on Thanksgiving Day. One minute I was shoveling in food like it was my JOB and the next I woke up and it was dark. I wasn’t even sure it was still Thursday. Looking back, I’m just pleased we were able to eat at all.

Cold turkey

At one point yesterday, Thanksgiving Day, the turkey would NOT come up to temperature in the roaster. As much as we all enjoy a nice rare steak, turkey tartare is NOT a dish best served cold. Or at all. As we waited an hour past serving time for our monster turkey to cook sufficiently as to not attempt to kill us, BoyWonder feigned starvation by draping himself dramatically on the stairs.

As the clock ticked past the one hour past serving time all the side dishes are cold mark, I started to get mean. I was sure “Thanksgiving is ruined!” At that point I was pretty sure that all we needed was the Bumpuses dogs (aka A Christmas Story) to blow through.

It’s easy to get testy when your endless time in the kitchen making sides has been overshadowed by a stubborn bird.

Energy use

Meanwhile my adorable husband is obsessed with monitoring oven use.
You know how you turn on a stove to preheat? He stomps around “are you making something?”

It’s like he can HEAR the energy being wasted. We could have the entire house lit up like a World’s Fair Ferris wheel but the stove being on longer than necessary drives him nuts. Heaven forbid anything happens to him. Instead of a moment of silence, we will all turn off our stoves in his memory. Eventually, the turkey did come out juicy, tender and fully cooked. We ate it along with every other food ever created (or at least it felt like it).

Holiday meals

Our dining room houses everyone who joined us for dinner. I grew up with large group gatherings for holidays. We cousins were always relegated to the kids’ table. It was always a dream to get promoted to the grownups table. Then we did, and realize they were a big bore.

So then we ended up moving back to the kids table as young adults. Eventually, before gathering at Gram’s disbanded due to logistics and sheer size, we had a “kids’ kids’ table” too. We joked that if it had continued as the family tree branched out, eventually we would have people eating in upstairs bedrooms and the bathtub.


Back at home in the present, we spent less than 20 minutes inhaling what had taken two days to prepare. Then we fell into the aforementioned carbohydrate coma. Eventually the need to clean up roused me enough to stagger into the kitchen.

Post holiday clean-up

Ugh. But then again, not really. It took me years to realize that some of my best holiday memories are of laughing over my grandmother’s kitchen sink handling soapy dishes, rinsing, and drying with my cousin and ladies of the family.

At Gram’s, men were welcome to carve the turkey, but they got kicked out of the kitchen cleanup. There wasn’t room for them and how were we going to chat about girl stuff with them hanging about anyway?

In all the years, I don’t know how many dishes we washed, but I do know I cherish the memories now. I have a photo of my aunt leaning against the counter drinking wine out of the bottle while my grandmother is seen in the background holding on to the table from laughing so hard.

I love my dishwasher, but the truth is it just doesn’t pack the memories those days standing over the dishes do.

Thanksgiving is a lot of calories, work and cleanup. It is also one of those amazing, spiritual, grateful, gatherings were making memories is always in good taste.


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