On The Silly Side by Jimmy Del Ponte
(The opinions and views expressed in the commentaries of The Somerville News belong solely to the authors of those commentaries and do not reflect the views or opinions of The Somerville News, its staff or publishers.)
Everyone hopes that their Thanksgiving dinner goes off without a hitch. There are in-laws and future in-laws to impress, and hungry stomachs to satisfy. If you are the host or hostess, there is a lot of pressure on you to present a flawless feast. But in reality, we know that whatever can go wrong, will go wrong. Here are some turkey day testimonials by some of my friends about Thanksgiving dinners, gone bad.
When I was very young and newly married, I had the whole family over to my house to cook my first Thanksgiving Day dinner. My mother, who was so sweet, tried not to look too disappointed when she opened the oven to check it out. It was breast side down with a little smoke coming out from where I didn’t even remove the inners bag! It was the driest turkey ever!
The first time I had Thanksgiving Day at my house, I cooked the bird leaving a spoon and the bag of giblets in it. Then when we were cleaning up, I cut my finger and ended up in emergency room for stitches.
My newly-wed sister and I were cooking our very first Thanksgiving dinner for our family. We cleaned and stuffed the enormous turkey and placed it into the brand-new roasting pan. We were so proud of ourselves. She carried the pan with our prized poultry, and I opened the oven door. Then we tried to fit the family-sized roasting pan with the 26 pound turkey into her apartment-sized oven. No go. When we realized that the turkey wouldn’t cook evenly with the roaster pan at an angle, we took off the wings and legs, hoping it would fit into a smaller roasting pan. After two and a half hours, and 18 people, getting very hungry we made a move. We discovered that it didn’t matter that we all went out for Chinese food on Thanksgiving Day. What was important was that we were all together!
We had an electric oven containing a 26 pound turkey which had been roasting nicely in anticipation of feeding 20 people for dinner. Everything was going well until we heard this huge explosion. The heating element blew up and we had a fire in the oven, and pieces of metal in the turkey. Our dinner guests were walking through the door! Good thing there was plenty of appetizers and alcohol.
One year my mother was basting the turkey after it had been in the oven awhile. She inadvertently got the loop of her belt from her bathrobe caught in the self cleaning bar and it flipped it into place. Well, when the stove is hot and you flip that oven cleaning switch on, there is no turning back. No turkey that year. We had to turn off the fuse thingy to the stove and go out to eat.
One year I put my turkey in the oven and went out for the day. I came home just in time. My house was smoking and my turkey was burnt to a crisp. That was 25 years ago. Never leave your turkey home alone.
We had a 130 pound German shepherd when I was growing up. My mom made the turkey and had it on the counter cooling off while she was finishing the side dishes. The family was in the living room having a good time and my mom went to set the dining room table. Ten minutes later she went into the kitchen and discovered that the turkey was missing. The dog had jumped up and stole the turkey. Five minutes later we heard the humongous dog gagging and retching. We looked down the hall stairs and there he was standing over a ¾ eaten turkey. We ate potatoes, stuffing and squash that year.
There is so much preparation involved in pulling off the perfect Thanksgiving. The inevitable is bound to happen. Someone may have one too many cocktails and make a turkey of himself. One of those folding tables full of desserts just may collapse, and the rolls, beans, or yams may stay in the oven a bit too long. But the most important thing about Thanksgiving is not the bird, the squash or the pies. It’s the people you are sharing the day with, and the memories of the ones who are there in spirit. Happy Thanksgiving from the DelPonte family.