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Richard Blais, Spike Mendelsohn, and more chefs share their worst Thanksgivings ever
Everyone has that story of the turkey coming out too dry, or grandma forgetting to defrost it beforehand. Even chefs.
We surveyed a good number of chefs to ask their Thanksgiving horror story, and while plenty had instances of Thanksgiving gone wrong, some were prepping for their first time hosting Thanksgiving ever. "I’ve always gone to my mother’s house. This is the first year I'm taking over," Arpaia told us. "Everyone has enlisted me to do Thanksgiving and Christmas. So to do a sit-down dinner for 25 people and it’s an Italian family, and they’re very opinionated, we’ll see what happens."
And while some Thanksgiving horror stories might be tame, it helps to know that even chefs are human. Click on through our slideshow to hear some worst-Thanksgiving-ever stories from Michael Mina, Richard Blais, and more.
10 of the worst Thanksgiving horror stories from Reddit
Thanksgiving is supposed to be a time to gather with family over good food and drink, but things don't always go exactly as planned.
As Reddit users are more than happy to share in several different forums, Thanksgiving isn't always the festive feast they hoped it would be — and they have no shortage of crazy, disgusting, or just plain odd stories to tell.
If you think your turkey-days are over the-top, these Thanksgiving horror stories will have you feeling grateful for every uneventful holiday meal you've ever celebrated:
An emotional evening
“As a paramedic, holidays were not something guaranteed. […] One year I was working Thanksgiving and […] we get a request by police to respond to the scene of a domestic situation. It's 2 p.m. in the afternoon and most everyone is sitting down to eat their turkey. This family was the same, except an argument started over something pretty silly. I think it was about who should carve the turkey. Anyway, [the] argument becomes heated, fists begin to fly between the men. Women are screaming at the men to stop it. One of the women grabs her purse and takes out her pepper spray and proceeds to pepper-spray the men who are fighting. Another woman grabs her own spray and sprays the first woman. This was all done while still around the table. Another person at the table calls the police. By the time the police arrive the fight has stopped but now there are [three] people with pepper spray in their eyes, the dinner is ruined and others are leaving.”
– contributed by Reddit user tobusytocare
A dishwasher disaster
“I burned water and flooded the house with bubbles."
"It was the first Thanksgiving I had ever cooked, and what made it worse was that my future in-laws were coming over. They are both extremely high-powered business people. […]
I tried to cook and prepare everything in one day, which was a mistake. Their plane landed and my future-spouse went to go pick them up while I watched the food cook. I decided that all the dirty cooking dishes needed to be washed before they arrived and began loading the dishwasher. Unfortunately I had no dish-tabs and decided to use dish-soap. […] Looking back I believe a dime-sized amount would have sufficed, but I was panicking and just squeezed the bottle liberally. Ten or fifteen minutes later I started noticing a film of bubbles pouring out of the bottom of the dish washer. […] The jets hadn't stopped completely when I opened the door and sprayed some of the bubbles onto the ceiling. […] Somewhere in the process of cleaning up the bubbles and running up and down the stairs to fetch more absorbent materials, I remembered the pot I left on the stove. A horrible black, [smoky] stench greeted me about the same time and the fire alarm above the stove was chirping. The water had boiled away and the pot was dry as a bone and super hot, the material it was made out of started to crack and left a horrible smell wafting up in the kitchen.”
The too-big turkey
“The time we had to remove the oven door to get the turkey out.”
Cat got your pies?
“My sister showed up with [four] pumpkin pies, each pie had a cat footprint in it, I took one home and threw it away, I think we all did.”
Bait and switch
“[It was] my first semester of university after moving to Canada from America. My uncle offered to have me over. I spend 12 hours travelling from my university to his place, only for him to put me to work on demolishing the bathroom tiles. Then, he puts me to work on figuring out how many tiles he needs. Then, it's time for me to go home on a 12-hour journey and have a midterm. I was told we'd be celebrating Thanksgiving. I didn't even get a nice dinner out of it.”
A nauseous night to remember
“Happened years ago. My nephew wasn't feeling very good and decided to eat way too much food. Threw up all over the dining room table where the family was eating. Spent the next hour outside in the freezing cold trying not to vomit. Apparently I'm the type of person that can't see, smell, or hear someone throwing up without getting extremely nauseous.”
Grandma’s extra ingredient
“Found grandma's wedding ring in the turkey one year … she did not even know it was not on her finger.”
A Thanksgiving story
“My mom’s short-haired black lab stole the turkey roll (yes it’s a thing) from the kitchen counter and my mom caught her, had a tug of war between the dog and her. Dog won, we ordered Chinese instead.”
The grouchy grandpa
“The night before Thanksgiving, we were helping prepare dinner at my grandfather's apartment in New York. His then-girlfriend was there helping us cook. My grandfather learned that the place we were ordering part of our dinner from had messed up, and we weren't getting cranberry sauce. My grandfather, who had a temper, threw a fit and was yelling at the man on the phone. His girlfriend tried to calm him down, and he yelled at her. They got in a screaming match, which ended with her taking the turkey, out of the oven, and outside the apartment with her.
"We ended up eating at a crummy Chinese restaurant on Thanksgiving.”
A mother-in-law and her microwave
"My in-laws are terrible cooks and my [mother in law] is easily stressed. To avoid the stress, she cooked everything two weeks ago, froze all the food, then reheated in the microwave just before eating. We're talking leathery ham pieces soaking it pools of fat, bland turkey with messed-up texture from being frozen, mashed potatoes with chunky globs of cream cheese, and cream of mushroom straight from the can spooned on top of green beans with onions […] no mixing, no heating in the oven.
"Other meals have consisted of expired ingredients and on-the-edge rotten produce.
10 True Stories of Epic Thanksgiving Fails
Laugh-out-loud Turkey Day disaster tales from our readers and Facebook fans.
Ah, Thanksgiving &mdash a time for family, rejoicing, and. disaster. Here are some Thanksgiving stories to tell for eons. Some are embarrassing, some are worth a chuckle, and most will make you glad you're not these people.
That Time the Dish Wasn't Chef-Approved
"I was invited to a friend's house and was told I didn't need to make anything, but I decided to make a pan of cheesy potatoes made with basic processed Velveeta cheese. When I arrived, I forgot that her husband was a chef of a high-end Michelin-starred restaurant. All the guests were his chef friends, and the spread was gourmet. She laughed when she saw my potatoes and replied, 'We'll give this to the kids.'" &mdashKestelle W.
That Time the Turkey Was Done Way Too Early
"Last year, I couldn't find my grandma's turkey recipe card and looked up how long and hot to cook a turkey online. The internet lied. My turkey was ready about three hours before people were even scheduled to arrive! I called my grandma in a panic and she diagnosed me like Dr. House, asking all these diagnostic cooking questions: How long did you have it in for? What temperature was it at? How big is the turkey? What color is the skin now? What are you basting it with? She talked me down and we rigged a tin foil moisture response system to keep it warm. Luckily, it turned out great!" &mdashKelsey D.
That Time the Tofurky Didn't Work Out
"One of my first vegetarian Thanksgivings, we attempted to make our own version of Tofurky. With our limited knowledge of tofu and my parent&rsquos commitment to meat-eating, we ended up with a football-shaped tofu dome filled with stuffing. The tofu was the color of carpet. and it smelled OK, but the texture was awful. I learned my lesson: Rather than attempt a sad Tofurky, I just make traditionally prepared tofu and plant-based dishes &mdash and don&rsquot miss the turkey a bit." &mdashEllie H.
That Time Someone Wore a Clown Suit
"When I was in fourth grade, my best friend and I were in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. We were on a float with Monica ('The Boy Is Mine' singer), dressed up in clown costumes. It effing poured and I lost my autograph, but how many people can say they wore a clown suit next to a '90s pop star on Thanksgiving? Hopefully not that many, that's for damn sure." &mdashMichelle M.
That Time Grown-ups Had to Eat At the Kids' Table
"My mother-in-law made me and my husband [then fiancé] sit at a kids' table with actual children whom we didn't know. while my parents sat at the adults' table with other strangers whom they didn't know." &mdashAndrea N.
That Time Someone Dropped the Turkey
"I dropped the turkey after rubbing olive oil all over it. I rinsed it off, rubbed [the oil] on again, and cooked it. Didn't tell anybody for 10 years. I just told them last year. Oh well, it didn't kill anybody or make them sick!" &mdashDebbie K.
That Time Turkey Miming Skills Paid Off
"The first Thanksgiving after moving overseas, I decided to treat my family to a traditional turkey dinner. I went to the closest store, which happened to be French-speaking, and approached the area where a variety of meats were laid out. Not being fluent in French, I looked and tried to determine on my own whether the large poultry breasts I saw were turkey or goose. The butcher indicated that he was ready to help me. I asked in broken French if he spoke English he replied, 'No.' I tried again, asking if he spoke German again, he replied, 'No.' I pointed at the poultry breasts, then tucked my thumbs in my armpits, flapped my arms, and said, 'Gobble, gobble?' The butcher broke into a smile as he replied, 'Oui.' Embarrassing, sure, but I ended up with a turkey and the butcher got a laugh!" &mdashMonica H.
That Time the Refrigerator Failed
"A few years ago, my husband and I had my parents and sister up for Thanksgiving for the first time. The evening before while prepping, my refrigerator door fell off &mdash and it was not an old fridge! Thanks to the hubby being here, he temporarily fixed it. Thanksgiving morning, I had a big ham all glazed up and ready when I realized my stove stopped working! I started crying, I was so upset. Not to mention I woke up with a stomach virus. Mom saved the day by using an old toaster oven to fix the ham. It took hours and hours, but we ate. Needless to say, I got a new stove and fridge the next day, and none of our families ever want to have holiday dinners here." &mdashMissy Moody
That Time the Mashed Potatoes Didn't Quite Work Out
"One year, my aunt, who had hosted Thanksgiving dinner before, tried to make mashed potatoes. She tried to mash the full 10-pound bag of cooked potatoes at one time in a huge stock pot. That year, we were slicing our mashed potatoes with forks and knives, and not scooping them as you should! She never made them for dinner again &mdash she told my mom it was her job!" &mdashBonnie R.
That Time the Stuffing Was Too Organic
"My sister-in-law was up early in the morning making stuffing and preparing the turkey, and when she opened up the stuffing mix, moths flew out of the sealed package! Her husband had to make an emergency run in search of stuffing mix that morning. He found it, but it was a challenge." &mdashGlynis B.
Let's get started!
The first step is getting that turkey in the oven. Without it, you won't have drippings. Of course, you can make gravy without drippings (using an alternate fat source like bacon grease) but for Thanksgiving you've got the drippings going on anyway so you might as well use them! While the turkey is cooking you can simmer the giblets and neck (and turkey wing tips if you remove them when cooking your turkey) in water in a saucepan. Even if you aren't going to use the giblets in your gravy this is a necessary step to get some good broth for the gravy. You can also quarter an onion and dice some celery to add to the cooking water. Let this cook for at least an hour at just a simmer (do not boil it). If you have a small crockpot (one of the one quart size) you can also cook the broth in there all day. Depending on the quantity of stock you end up with you may need additional liquid for your gravy. Homemade turkey or chicken stock is best but you can also used packaged broth.
When the turkey is done, remove it from the roasting pan and pour the drippings through a fine mesh sieve into a container. Deglaze the roasting pan with one cup of stock. Pour the deglazed liquid through the sieve into the container with the drippings. Let it stand for a few minutes then remove any fat that has risen to the top, but reserve about 1/4 cup of the fat. Discard any excess fat. Place the reserved fat into a large saucepan and whisk in 1/4 cup of flour (you want the amount of thickener to equal the amount of fat). Cook over medium heat, stirring, until the mixture begins to lightly brown. DO NOT BURN! Watch the mixture the entire time because it can burn very fast.
When the roux is ready (it will be thick, bubbly and light golden brown), slowly whisk in the stock (adding more stock as needed). Cook and stir until the mixture comes to a boil. It will start to thicken while on the heat and will continue to thicken once you are done cooking it (so keep that in mind). If you want to add the giblets to the gravy, chop them before adding, and mix them into the hot gravy.
This is a basic, thick turkey gravy. Simply season to taste with salt and pepper.
The Tale of the Huge Turkey
I decided this year to order the biggest bird I could find. It made sense. The local farmer I was purchasing from offered all free-range turkeys over 18 pounds at a flat rate. I told him I would take one of their biggest, and on delivery day, the hugest turkey I’d ever seen showed up on our porch.
This week, in preparation for our big Thanksgiving feast, I thawed Mr. Turkey so that I could get him baked and deboned. (Here’s my easy method for preparing the turkey ahead of time and re-warming it on Thanksgiving day.) All was well until I got out my big roasting pan.
Uh-huh. I could actually hear the turkey laughing out loud at the very idea of me trying to bake him in what now appeared to be a very tiny pan.
No problem, I thought. I’ll just get out my large roaster oven. Surely that would be plenty big enough.
At least the turkey fit inside. But no way, no how was that lid going on. And a lidless roasting pan would not bake a turkey. Okay then. Plan C?
Hmmm, Plan C. Plan C. I had not foreseen the need for a Plan C. As I stared at the huge bird (who by now was rolling his eyes, shrugging his wings, and getting bored with the entire situation), I racked my brain for options. Go to the store and fork out money for….yeah right. Just a few days before the holiday? What would my store even carry that would be big enough to bake this bird?
It occurred to me that maybe I could bake the turkey directly on the oven rack, with a pan underneath to catch the drippings. I immediately recognized that this was a silly idea since I didn’t have a pan large enough in the first place, so all the drippings couldn’t be caught. I could just envision a dried out turkey with lots of drippings crusted all over the bottom of my oven. Not to mention the fact that when drippings drip in a hot oven, the coils can catch fire, smoke can fill a kitchen, smoke alarms can scream for way too long, houses can smell horrible, and Thanksgiving dinners can be ruined.
You realize all these thoughts went through my head in a time span of about 45 seconds? Nonetheless, I was practically waving a tea towel in front of the smoke alarm just picturing the entire scene.
I moved on to Plan Q – which involved texting a friend. I remembered that she had mentioned that she had an extra large aluminum pan at her house. I don’t love baking in aluminum, and I doubted that such a pan existed that would fit my gigantic-sized turkey, but I figured it was worth a shot. Within an hour, my friend arrived with two roasting pan options. One pan was tiny – as in, it was made for normal sized turkeys. But the other one? Well, I could have leapt for joy. That pan fit my turkey with several inches to spare!
As you can see, the turkey feels exposed, being photographed in all his glory. He’s even blushing a slight pink. Here – I’ll cover him:
And into the oven he went. My friend saved the day. The turkey turned out tasty. And even though we’ll be feeding 15 people on Thanksgiving, I do believe we might have a bite or two of leftover turkey to enjoy in a sandwich this weekend.
Have you ever seen a turkey that big? Do you have any fun Thanksgiving preparation stories to tell?
Thanksgiving Horror Movies
Last November, I embarked on a quest to find the perfect Thanksgiving horror film — a movie to bridge that awkward time between Halloween and Thanksgiving. After much consideration, I awarded the dubious honor of best Thanksgiving horror film to “ThanksKilling” (2008), a low-budget sleaze-fest about a homicidal turkey.
Here’s the thing, though. I’m a glutton for turkey-flavored punishment, and there are a surprising number of Thanksgiving-themed horror movies out there. So, to kick off November, I’ve decided to subject myself to four more of the most appetizing films the sub-genre has to offer.
It should probably go without saying that most Thanksgiving horror movies are pretty bad, at least if you’re judging them by the same standards you would do with a mainstream horror. Instead of trying to find a “good” movie, my goal is to find a movie that’s memorable, weird and, most importantly, fun. I’m looking for turkey puns, Thanksgiving-themed murder weapons and dinner table drama that rivals Toni Collete’s monologue in “Hereditary.” But most of all, I’m looking for a movie that will help my horror-loving month find something to love about Thanksgiving.
4. “Ghost Note” (2017) — directed by Troy Hart
I don’t understand how a movie about a blues musician-turned serial killer-turned-ghost ranked this low on this list, but here we are. “Ghost Note” has a lot going for it — a Thanksgiving seance, an impromptu musical number about unrequited teen love and a villain who looks like a rejected Cenobite design — but it doesn’t manage to be nearly as interesting as its premise suggests. We follow a generic goth teen who accidentally awakens the aforementioned blues ghosts while staying with her grandmother over Thanksgiving break. Cue edgy teen dialogue, questionable acting and plenty of intentional goofiness, but a shocking lack of blues ghost action. There are a couple of decent kills and some passable scares, but “Ghost Note” nevertheless fails to make the most of its ridiculously fun premise.
3. “Alien Abduction: Incident in Lake County” (1998) — directed by Dean Alioto
What’s scarier than being forced to spend Thanksgiving with your dysfunctional family? Having to spend Thanksgiving with your dysfunctional family while under assault from aliens, according to Dean Alioto. In this made-for-TV mockumentary, the McPherson family is tormented by extraterrestrials on Thanksgiving day. Nosebleeds, malfunctioning blenders and the world’s most awkward game of Go Fish ensue (in that order) as the McPhersons fight for their lives… and then sort of give up and go eat leftovers. The MVP here is the alcoholic mom who puts down her wine glass maybe twice during the 90-minute runtime. And I haven’t even mentioned the parade of increasingly ridiculous “expert” interviews that punctuate the movie. Jokes aside, “Alien Abduction” is an entertaining found footage film that gets bonus points for being not just sufficiently Thanksgiving-themed, but enjoyably weird as well.
2. “Pilgrim” (2019) — directed by Marcus Dunstan
I was pleasantly surprised by “Pilgrim,” a Blumhouse production about a troubled family that hires a group of pilgrim reenactors to join them for Thanksgiving dinner. Because this is a horror movie, the reenactors take their jobs a bit too seriously and decide to teach the family what it truly means to be thankful by attempting to murder them. For the first hour, the film feels very much like a middle-of-the-road mainstream horror, with an array of unlikeable characters and dialogue that isn’t quite bad enough to be funny. However, Peter Giles saves the film in his role as Ethan, the villainous scenery-chewing pilgrim reenactor whose performance gets increasingly over-the-top as the movie continues. It all culminates in an unhinged gorefest full of corny one-liners, buckets of blood and a few killer (pun intended) twists. Despite its slow start, “Pilgrim” is a fun romp with a dark sense of humor and a fantastic third act.
1. “Blood Rage” (1987) — directed by John Grissmer
“Blood Rage” is a slasher about a preteen boy who kills a couple at a drive-in theater and frames his twin for the crime. 10 years later on Thanksgiving Day, the innocent twin escapes his mental institution, and the murderous twin takes the opportunity to go on a killing spree. This movie has it all: carving fork kills soap opera star Louise Lasser drunkenly shoveling cold Thanksgiving leftovers into her mouth and a killer who says, on four separate occasions, “It’s not cranberry sauce.” (In each case, it is, in fact, blood.) This is an s slasher perfection filled with gore, teased hair and teenagers having sex in impractical locations. Adding to its charm are the gruesome practical effects by Ed French, known for his work on cult classics like “Sleepaway Camp” and “The Stuff.” Sure, there’s no plot to speak of, but it sure is fun. I can easily see “Blood Rage” becoming a new holiday tradition.
People Share Their Thanksgiving Dinner Horror Stories
"We started out Thanksgiving by going to my father-in-law's house. The last couple of years have consisted of pretty boring/bad food because he made his wife do all the cooking while she was suffering from lupus. We thought the bad food was due to her not feeling well, and this year she was feeling really good, so we got a little hopeful.
While dinner was cooking, we go into the living room to watch football. My brother happened to sit in my father-in-law's seat and he made a scene of it. My brother said sorry, got up from his chair, and found another seat.
Next up was my father-in-law's wife's mom's boyfriend. An elderly man sits in his seat, he walks upstairs and demands him out of his chair. While this poor old man is getting up to move, he makes fun of him not being able to get up.
Fast forward to dinner. My father-in-law smoked the bird - later we found out for 24 hours - and he goes to carve the turkey and takes off a leg and asks for his stepson's plate and puts the leg on it. Next, he cuts off a nice piece off of the breast and walks over and puts it on his plate. He continues to carve the turkey and put it on a platter for everyone else to get their own.
I learned that day, that my husband's father is a giant jerk. Thankfully, I had my own turkey in a smoker I put in that morning and was planning another dinner at my house later with my husband's mom, her husband, and my brother again. The rest of the night went really well and all of the food at my place was delicious."
"As a paramedic, the holidays were not something guaranteed. I have worked my share of them.
Anyway, one year I was working Thanksgiving and for the most part, it was pretty quiet until we got a request by the police to respond to the scene of a domestic situation.
It was about 2 p.m. in the afternoon and mostly everyone was sitting down to eat their turkey. This family was the same, except an argument started over something pretty silly. I think it was about who should carve the turkey.
Anyway, the story goes. The argument became heated and fists were flying between the men. The women were screaming at the men to stop it. One of the women grabbed her purse and took out her pepper spray and proceeded to pepper spray the men who were fighting. Another woman grabbed her own spray and sprayed the first woman.
This was all done while still around the table. Another person at the table called the police. By the time the police arrived, the fight had stopped but now there were three people with pepper spray in their eyes, ultimately leading to the dinner being ruined and others started to leave. Happy Thanksgiving!"
"My now-departed Grandma Ethel, bless her soul, was in the early stages of dementia.
Well, at one Thanksgiving dinner, in particular, Grandma Ethel got this look in her eye like she was going to say or do something sly and burst out by saying: 'That Frank (my late grandfather, her deceased brother-in-law). That Frank, he said that on his honeymoon, every time he put it in her, she farted all night long!' and erupted in little old lady cackling guffaws.
Well, let me just say that at that moment, we all just kind of looked around and one of my grandmothers was laughing so hard, while the other turned red as a beet. I think I just took a sip of tea, had some dressing, and went with it."
"Freshman year of college, an old buddy of mine comes out to visit me at UC Santa Cruz. He had a bunch of money from an inheritance and I was a broke college student. He came up with the idea of renting a car and having Thanksgiving in San Francisco.
We ended up renting a gold '73 Cadillac Eldorado, about 50 feet long and just obscene. The guys at the rental place, Rent-a-Dent, kept asking where we planned on going, but we hadn't decided fully yet, so we said it would be fairly local.
A couple of hours later, we're cruising around San Francisco and have no idea where to go. He rolled down the window and asked a cop, who was stopped at the red light next to us, where a good place to eat might be. The cop directs us to pull around him and head down to Fisherman's Wharf. We go another few blocks until we're right near the Wharf with hundreds of people milling about and the cop still behind us.
All of a sudden, cop cars come flying out of all the side streets, cops are screaming, weapons are out and we're grinning, like 'Holy crap, someone is about to get screwed up!' Come to realize that everyone was yelling at us to show hands and not to move.
The car apparently had stolen plates or something. We went to jail, spent the day handcuffed to a blood-soaked bench. No one was available at the rental place to corroborate our story because of the holiday. They eventually unhooked us, called us a cab, and had him drive us directly to the airport with instructions for us to get out of San Francisco. We did. Flew to LA and partied our hearts out!"
"Every Thanksgiving there is this woman who shows up to eat with our family. She is a family friend of my aunt and always brings her kids. Well, she got divorced a few months beforehand and as a result, she reverted back to before she got married and gets around now.
Back up a few months to the day of my High School Graduation. After we graduated, we went out and had a good time. Well, this was about two months after her divorce at this point. She showed up to the graduation party of someone that I knew. Apparently, she knew my buddy's mom. Well, everybody was drinking. I saw her and I recognized her but I don't think that she knew who I was (even though she had seen me at Thanksgiving dinner ever since I was a kid).
I started dancing with her. She was very lit and was coming onto me really hard. She was like 40 years old, but she was attractive. One thing led to another and I ended up getting with her. We weren't exactly subtle about it either. I pretty much carried her up the stairs in front of the whole party, up to my buddy's room. So needless to say, word got around.
Now cut to Thanksgiving. She got back with her husband and then she showed up the dinner (apparently she had forgotten that I was her friend's nephew). She comes in with her kids and her husband. The look on her face when she saw me was one of utter disbelief. The entire time her husband was giving me the evil eye. It was obvious that he wanted to kill me.
The most awkward part was when her kid came up and started talking to me. As soon as he did, the father was like, 'We are leaving,' and basically dragged everyone out of the house. Everyone was just sitting there in complete silence. It was obvious that some of my family knew about it. Thankfully nobody said anything. It was terrible, to say the least."
"I was a volunteer support personnel with my local fire department - not a firefighter, just someone who did computer stuff with the district. I had time to kill on Thanksgiving Day and I had computer updates to do on the engine. I climb into the cab and start updating the software. It's a slow process, but it has to be done.
Well, the tones go off. I didn't even get a chance to look up before the door next to me opened and then immediately shut and the Captain climbed in the engine in the seat behind me, reached over, put a headset on my head and we were rolling out of the station.
The call: Frozen turkey and deep frier. In a garage.
Halfway there, the second alarm goes off for additional units. My job? Get the engine to the house, because I was tying up the computer and update the dispatcher with location and everything, oh, and do it all with zero prior training.
So we get there, and the garage is fully engulfed. They start running lines. I don't want to stand around, so I grab the medical kit and follow the EMT/Firefighters who are starting triage on the people who were in the garage. Third degree burns on four people. I spend two minutes handing supplies to a firefighter before paramedics show up and shoo me away.
What did I end up doing? Consoling a little girl whose dad is now severely burned after the turkey ejected into the ceiling, and once the chief arrived, transporting the guy's wife and kid to the hospital to be with their dad.
I ended up being late for dinner that evening after I had to return to the fire with the chief's command unit so another volunteer could take me back to the station to get my car.
I learned to wear good boots going forward if I was doing in-cab software updates."
"I got dumped a day or two before Thanksgiving. I was devastated. However, my family decided to do a huge potluck at a restaurant and invite everybody - people I didn't even know. Most everyone brought regular potluck type food instead of Thanksgiving-type of food, so there wasn't really a Thanksgiving dinner. Then, to add to my personal nightmare, they busted out a karaoke machine and the same couple that brought the machine proceeded to basically give everyone else a concert.
Looks like this year will be a close second. My husband is talking divorce and uninvited me from our annual Thanksgiving trip. He'll be with coworkers and friends, while his kids will be with their mom. I feel utterly rejected. Thankfully a friend invited me to visit so I won't be completely alone."
"I burned water and flooded the entire house with bubbles.
It was the first Thanksgiving I had ever cooked and what made it worse was that my future in-laws were coming over. They are both extremely high-powered business people. I've seen them broker over hundred-million-dollar deals without batting an eye. Both of them are hardcore ring fighters in the American business world. They know what they like, and they know what they don't like. They never hold back on their opinions. Suffice it to say, I was terrified and running around like a chicken with my head cut off.
I tried to cook and prepare everything in one day, which was a mistake. Their plane landed and my future-spouse went to go pick them up while I watched the food cook. I decided that all the dirty cooking dishes needed to be washed before they arrived and began loading the dishwasher. Unfortunately, I had no dish-tabs and decided to use dish soap. My mother told me that it could only be used in extreme circumstances and really wasn't made for the dishwasher. Looking back, I believe a dime-sized amount would have sufficed, but I was panicking and just squeezed the bottle liberally. Ten minutes later, I started noticing a film of bubbles pouring out of the bottom of the dishwasher. The waves of bubbles poured out over the kitchen floor. In my panic, I turned away from the stove, where I was boiling water for pasta and assessed the situation. Opening the dishwasher, more bubbles poured out and across the floor! The jets hadn't stopped completely when I opened the door and sprayed some of the bubbles onto the ceiling.
Cleaning up bubbles is not like cleaning up water. Towels don't like to soak them up, it was a very long process. Somewhere in the process of cleaning up the bubbles and running up and down the stairs to fetch more absorbent materials, I remembered the pot I left on the stove. A horrible black and smoky stench, greeted me about the same time and the fire alarm above the stove was chirping. The water had boiled away and the pot was dry as a bone and super hot, the material it was made out of started to crack and left a horrible smell wafting up in the kitchen.
It was a truly stressful experience."
"About 10 years ago, I had a cousin who was mentally unstable and ended up going into a fit of rage because her brother and I were laughing at something she did. I've never seen evil in someone's eyes like I did that day.
She picked up my glass of milk, raised her hand, and slammed it onto the ground in front of my chair. Glass went everywhere.
She then picked the broken glass up and started cutting her arms. Blood was everywhere.
I ran out the house and drove off so fast. My mom came home later and asked if I left before or after the rescue and cops showed up to take her. She was later diagnosed with Bipolar disorder after a psyche valuation. No one ever brings up that Thanksgiving!"
"I was making a green bean casserole from scratch. I'd never made one before. Here are all of the mistakes I made:
I ran out of milk, so I used unsweetened Silk soymilk. Well, since soymilk has vanilla in it, the whole thing smelled like a cake.
Additionally, I undercooked the green beans and didn't realize it until the beans were already in the sauce that I'd made. Instead of washing off the sauce and cooking the green beans more, like a sane person, I made another batch of sauce, poured it into the pan, and baked that freakin' casserole for two hours instead of 30 minutes. The green beans were still crunchy and the sauce hadn't evaporated like I thought it would, so we all enjoyed crunchy green beans floating in a sea of vanilla scented bechamel."
"Six or seven years ago, I spent Thanksgiving with my stepmom's parents.
I have one younger brother who is a full-blood sibling, one younger half-sister, and a younger half-brother who was an infant at the time.
The trip was terrible, and my stepmom's mother didn't like my brother or me.
They sat at the dinner table (including my four-year-old sister, and infant brother) and made my brother and I sit at the kitchen bar with our backs to them. I was offended, I hated being there in the first place, but it didn't hurt my feelings too much. I went through a pretty long phase of apathy, through my teen years, as a result of the crap my dad put me through. But looking over at my 10-year-old brother's sad face, while he poked at his food because 'grandma' basically dismissed, and excluded us, extremely angered me. Being only 14 or 15 years old at the time, I didn't say anything at the time, but I will never forgive them for how they've treated my brother over the years. I've often thought about the joy I would feel if she died slowly and painfully while roasting in a house fire."
"My worst Thanksgiving was in 2005.
I was a freshman in high school and was playing video games or something, while my mom was working a late shift the night before Thanksgiving.
We were living with my grandpa at the time. It was late at night when I heard him calling from downstairs. He usually came partway up the stairs, even though he had a hard time doing so before he called up to us for anything, so I should have realized that something was wrong based on the distance he was yelling from. I went downstairs and he was in his living room recliner like usual but had to ask me to help him to the kitchen table which I had never had to do before. I had to hold him over my shoulder, but we made it to the kitchen and got him seated in his favorite chair. I wish I remembered more than that, but I'm sure I went upstairs and continued about my life as usual.
The next morning, I just remember my mom coming into my room crying. Grandpa had died in his sleep. I couldn't even work up the courage to say goodbye before the coroners took his body away. I realize now how much I could have learned from him and think about his passing every year around this time."
"One year when I was a kid, my dad was in charge of bringing the pies. He's normally a really good cook, and all of the dessert responsibility was in his hands.
Well, the morning of, all the prep work has been done and a bunch of beautiful-looking pies are ready to go into the oven when my dad realizes the oven isn't getting hot it's a propane stove and we must have just run out of propane. Certainly, there was nowhere to get the tank filled on Thanksgiving morning.
My dad flips out for a few minutes as he tries to find a way to blame someone else for the problem, but eventually settles down and gets to brainstorming. Eventually, his choice is clear: microwave the pies or take no pies at all. So, we microwave the pies, box 'em up, and drive to my grandma's house.
The pies go totally unmentioned until it's time for dessert to be served. My aunt lifts the foil off of the first pumpkin pie and wrinkled her nose at the crust, which wasn't browned and was soggy. She kind of sets it aside and goes for the next pie, which looks the same. At this point, she looks up at my dad, who says sheepishly, 'Oh yeah, uh, we, uh, had to microwave the pies.' After a second to let it sink in, the whole room bursts into hysterical laughter.
We still ate 'em, and they really weren't bad, just not awesome. But now every year, (this was AT LEAST ten years ago) my dad is assigned anything but pie, and when the pie does come out, my uncles taste it, exclaim how delicious it is, and then innocently ask: 'I've got to know the secret to such a tasty pie. Did you happen to microwave it?'"
"My in-laws are terrible cooks.
Last year, I put on a huge Thanksgiving meal with all the fixings. The family drama that came with it convinced me never to do it again, even though I enjoyed cooking a huge meal.
So this year, my brother-in-law asked me, three days before the day, if I'd be nice enough to cook again. Nope. Sorry. He insisted we still have a gathering even though each of the mother-in-law's kids had already planned their own meals.
So we all came over to his house where he prepared us all frozen pizzas and fries. Yep, our big family meal was watching him cook frozen pizza and fries. He kept opening the oven every minute to check if the pizza was done, so it took ages. It was cheap pizza, too.
Thankfully we had our own small meal at home. My husband and I enjoyed our tiny meal in peace that evening."
"I moved to Texas about 11 years ago, leaving most of my family in Florida. Since I didn't want to spend Thanksgiving alone, a friend and I rented a car and drove back together. I dropped her off in Orlando before continuing south to see my family.
When I got there, it was a disaster it seemed like the entire family was livid with each other. Person A refused to be in the same place as person B and person C didn't want to see Person A and so forth. So the family was having like three different Thanksgiving gatherings. Of course, this means that there is no way for me to win, because no matter which one I go to, someone is going to get upset that I didn't go to their dinner.
I was getting pulled in three different directions for two days so eventually, I just got fed up and started telling people: 'I just drove 1,200 miles to visit and you can't drive two miles to so-and-so's house to see me? Tough luck, I'll see you next year.'
After deciding that there wasn't enough drinks in the state to make the holiday bearable I just left and drove back to Orlando to chill with my friends, who were much more fun than my feuding family."
"My senile grandmother prepared Thanksgiving dinner as usual - the standard American offerings. Also, as usual, no one was allowed in the kitchen during this cooking as she was typically a 'Terminator' when it came to banging out a rock-solid spread that would put any Thanksgiving stock photography to shame and we knew better than to get into her way.
We came into the dining room to the usual spread of turkey, sweet potatoes, stuffing, ham, mushroom gravy, and so on. Only nothing had been cooked. Nothing. The turkey was stuffed, but it was merely defrosted. The ham was cold, as it hadn't been cooked at all. The 'gravy' was more like mushroom and butter floating in the water. The sweet potatoes. well, no need to go on.
We pretended to eat, but not for long. After she went to bed we went out for Chinese."
Not Thawing Your Turkey in Time
Turkeys are usually purchased frozen, and they need a lot more time than you'd think to thaw before cooking. The safest way to thaw a turkey is by letting it hang out in the refrigerator, which takes one day for every 4-5 pounds. If you're in a jam and need to thaw your bird more quickly, you can do it in a cold water bath, which will take about 30 minutes per pound.
Your 10 Funniest Thanksgiving Bloopers + the Most Common Disasters
A month ago, we asked Bon Appetit readers to share their craziest Thanksgiving food disaster stories . Hundreds of you wrote in, and we read every single entry about flaming turkeys, inedible gravies, ruined casseroles, and more. From the day the contest kicked off, these tales were all we could talk about around the New York offices of Bon Appetit . "Did you read the one where the woman's family arrived and she went to serve the turkey and realized she never even turned on the oven?!" "No! But did you read the one about the turkey that was left to chill in the backyard and got eaten by a raccoon?"
Weɽ laugh and laugh, knowing exactly how those moments feel during the holidays. And then weɽ go back for more.
As we continued to read our way through the huge stack of entries, we started to see trends: a third cook left the giblets bag inside her turkey, then a fourth, then a twentieth. We had to create a whole separate stack for people whose meals were eaten by their dogs and cats.
So we decided to keep a tally of the repeat stories. Only unique stories could qualify as finalists in the contest--we had to choose a winner to receive an All-Clad turkey roasting pan, after all--but we started to think that the stories you all had in common might be more important.
Here's why: All over the country on Thursday, families and friends in every shape and size will cook the same meal. (Or try to, at least.) Many of you will break your disposal with potato peels. Many of you will cook the paper liner into the crust of a store-bought pie. And an overwhelming number of you will accidentally use powdered sugar instead of cornstarch to thicken your gravy. There's something great there. Call it a sense of commonality, community, or wax poetic about the unifying power of tradition. We're kind of in it together.
And then there were the heros: The mother-in-laws who came into the kitchen to find a crying cook, but said "Pick up that turkey off the floor, wipe it off and let's have dinner." There were dads, uncles, and grandmas who scooped out the pie filling, poured in that missing sugar or spice, and dumped it back in the crust. These stories reminded us why this holiday, including its trials and tribulations in the kitchen, is so wonderful. So this year weɽ like to give thanks to our community for your willingness to share with us.
Here now, by popular request, are two lists: First, a list of the most common disasters and second, our finalists. A winner will be announced before the Thanksgiving holiday at bonappetit.com.
Here are Your
3 Most Common Thanksgiving Disasters:
You reached for the wrong thing. Hundreds of you sent in stories about accidentally using the wrong ingredient in your pies, gravies, casseroles and more. Our favorite iteration was a reader who accidentally used Vicks 44 instead of vanilla in her ice cream.
Someone (or something) else ate my turkey. Sometimes you put the bird outside to cool and found a carcass in the morning. Or sometimes your dog, cat, or pet bunnies got to do the feasting--especially when you dropped it on the floor.
There's something in there. This was the most common disaster by a long shot. Whether you forgot to remove the bag of innards or left a wad of paper towels in the cavity after drying the bird, hundreds of you have treated your family to a surprise stuffing.
"No One Will Ever Know"
At the first Thanksgiving dinner with the in laws, I was doing my best to impress everyone with my skills in the kitchen. I was given the honor of slicing up the bird. My mother-in-law positioned a cutting board over the kitchen sink, placed the turkey on it and said, "have at it." I was careful to first remove the giblets and undo the wiring holding the legs together. As my finger touched the piping hot metal, I exclaimed "ow!" and the bird went sliding into the soapy dishwater right next to it. The good mother-in-law quickly recovered the bird, rinsed it off with hot water, and encouraged me by saying, "no one will ever know." Until now I guess. - Kevin, Wheeling, IL
"The Ice Maker"
We purchased our fresh Thanksgiving turkey too far in advance and had to freeze it. Unfortunately the freezer was too small. With determination and lots of pushing, we forced the turkey in and closed the freezer door. It wasn't until we went to remove the turkey to thaw that we remembered that water expands when it freezes. The turkey was huge and solidly stuck against the ice maker. We left the freezer door open for hours but it wouldn't budge. We pulled out a hair dryer to speed up the defrosting process but the ice maker held tight. Finally in desperation, we shut off the electricity and cut the lines to the ice maker. Both the ice maker and the turkey slid out gracefully. The turkey was delicious and now we use old-fashioned ice trays. - Sharon, Friday Harbor, WA
A couple of years ago, my younger sister decided she was finally brave enough to join in the family tradition of everyone making a dish to bring to Thanksgiving dinner. We suggested she make a green bean casserole since it is easy (the recipe is right on the can) and inexpensive (a little condensed soup and frozen green beans). On Thanksgiving day she walked in with a huge roasting pan and set it on the counter. I asked her how it came out and she said, "okay, but it cost more money to make than I thought." She uncovered the dish to reveal a gray, gelatinous, green-specked mass sprinkled with a few fried onions on top. I calmly asked, "sweetheart, did you follow the recipe?" "Yes!" she replied, "I just can't believe how much soup it takes to make it!" I grabbed an extra can of green beans we had to see what had gone wrong and there it was: (2) 10oz cans cream of mushroom soup. Without much experience, she had thought it said 10 cans, not 10oz cans! We put the dish out on the table with everyone else's dish because she had put so much effort into it. Everyone took a big gray scoop of it, and no one in our family has thought about green bean casserole the same way again. - Kerri, Ewing, NJ
"The 'Kosher' Turkey"
One year I chose the "Kosher Turkey" recipe from Rick Rodger's cookbook, Thanksgiving 101. I purchased a kosher turkey from my butcher and didn't think about it until an hour before cooking time. I unwrapped the bird to find it completely covered in feathers. I called my butcher who laughed and said "Lady, I assumed you knew what you were in for." He told me to pick up a pair of pliers and start plucking. When the guests arrived we were still plucking. All the guests pitched in and my clean kitchen became littered with greasy, limp feathers. It turned out to be the tastiest turkey of all time. -Denise, Ridegefield, PA
"The Cutting Board"
When I was in college, my older brother and I lived in the same city. I insisted we celebrate the holiday together. I had no frame of reference for cooking Thanksgiving dinner, but preparation went remarkably well˿until the grand carving of the turkey. I had soaked the cutting board in a pine cleaner to get it spanking clean and the turkey tasted like a Christmas tree. I've since become a cooking instructor (many years later!). -Jo Ann, Delray Beach, FL
Two years ago my sister asked me how I made my turkey so moist, so I gave her my secret recipe: Inject the turkey with a pomegranate salad dressing, cover it with a cheese cloth and baste it with a white wine-butter reduction every half hour." My mother called me on Thanksgiving to ask me what I had told my sister, because there is no way she got the instructions right. It turned out my PHd-smart sister inject the turkey with pomegranate concentrate which made the turkey meat pink. If that wasn't funny enough, my mother asked me why I told her to cover the turkey with cheese and saturate it with wine. I swear my sister can find new medicines, but she can't cook! -Marie, Sunrise, FL
"Who Needs To Read Instructions?"
I put the pumpkin straight from the can into th pie crust and put it into the oven. I didn't know you needed to add ingredients! -Natasha, Washington D.C.
It was my mother's first Thanksgiving. The recipe for roast turkey began by instructing the cook to "wash and dry" the bird. My mother washed the turkey with SOS pads and dish soap, and evidently it didn't rinse very well." -Tom, New York
We were in charge of all the pies for desert. My wife is known for her pie making abilities, and had made a beautiful assortment. We left the pies on the table and went to finish getting read for dinner. While we were getting dressed, our 5-year-old decided to help mom with the pie. He grabbed the salt (the one with a single hole) and processed to add whimsical designs across the pumpkin, coconut cream, cherry nut, and peanut butter swirl pies. -Scott, Philadelphia, PA
In 2005, I pre-ordered an expensive fresh bone-in turkey breast for my first Thanksgiving. To my horror, there was a giant hole in the skin right at the top middle of the breastbone of what was supposed to be my first masterpiece! I brined the bird in a salt and sugar solution, but I wasn't sure if that would keep it moist with the hole there. I cut off some excess skin around the neck area and pieced together a toupee for my bird's bald spot. When my bird emerged from the oven, I must admit, it was quite ugly. The skin had shrunk and pulled away, but otherwise it was a perfectly cooked bird! To this day, we still reminisce about my ugly but oh-so-delicious Frankenturkey! -Kim, Huntington Beach, CA**
How Much Food Should You Buy?
How big a turkey do you need?
1 to 1 1/2 pounds of turkey per person (depending on whether you want leftovers). Keep in mind that smaller birds have less meat, so you might want to go with that higher ratio.
How much stuffing should you make?
About 3/4 cup per person or per pound of turkey. Note: Not all of that stuffing will fit in the cavity if you are planning on stuffing the bird. You will have to cook some of it in a casserole separately from the bird.
About 1/2 cup per person, which allows for leftovers.
You will need about 1 1/2 tablespoons of fat and 1 1/2 tablespoons of flour per cup of stock.
What Equipment Will You Need
If you are cooking the traditional turkey dinner, you will need:
A large heavy roasting pan with handles.
A large V-rack to put inside the roasting pan.
A meat thermometer (a small instant-read thermometer will do).
Aluminum foil to cover the turkey if it gets too dark during roasting as well as to keep it warm while it is resting.
A good carving or chef's knife.
A large metal spatula (I move the turkey from the roasting pan to the platter by sticking a carving fork in the cavity and putting a large spatula under the other end of the turkey, which makes it easy to lift)
Whisk for making gravy (preferably a flat whisk that can get into the corners)
Food mill, ricer or potato masher for making mashed potatoes.
Info on Brining Your Turkey
What Is the Basic Formula for Brining a Turkey?
Two cups kosher salt for 2 gallons of water. You can add sugar (up to 2 cups) and various spices, as well. Heat the water with the salt, sugar and spices, if using, stirring until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Let the brine cool and then pour it over the turkey in a large pot or in a heavy plastic bag. Let brine overnight or up to 12 hours, refrigerated. Drain, rinse well and dry well before roasting.
The benefit of brining? A moist, flavorful turkey.
The downside of brining? You need a large space in the fridge to put the turkey in the bag of liquid and the process is somewhat messy. The drippings will be too salty to use for gravy.
Don't brine a kosher turkey it already has been salted.
CLICK HERE to send Sara Moulton your Thanksgiving cooking question!
How to Defrost a Turkey
It's best to thaw your turkey in a refrigerator that's 40 degrees or cooler. A good rule of thumb is to allow 24 hours of thawing time for every 4 to 5 pounds of turkey.
If you've run out of time, you can defrost the turkey in a sink filled with cold water. Thaw the turkey breast side down, in its unopened wrapper, in enough cold water to cover it completely. Change the water frequently to keep the turkey chilled. Estimate a minimum thawing time of 30 minutes per pound for a whole turkey.
How to Roast a Turkey
If the turkey is frozen, thaw in the refrigerator or a sink of cold water (see procedure above).
Should the Turkey Be Rinsed?
Raw poultry shouldn't be rinsed, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The reason is that when you rinse, you risk contaminating the sink and everything around it with salmonella bacteria.
But, if you'd rather rinse off the juices, you can. You just must clean the sink, countertop -- everything else that has come into contact with the raw turkey -- with soap and hot water, and then follow that with a little bleach.
To Stuff or Not to Stuff?
It's safer not to stuff the turkey. The internal temperature of turkey and stuffing both should reach at least 165 degrees. If you let the stuffing get to that temperature inside the turkey, the bird temperature probably already will be up to 175 degrees, which means the meat will be overcooked and dry.
Some people really prefer the taste of stuffing that has been cooked inside the turkey. If you're one of them, just scoop the stuffing out, cover it and bake it until it has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
Tip: Do not purchase prestuffed turkeys. You should stuff the bird right before it's cooked, and stuffing ingredients mostly should be precooked.
CLICK HERE to send Sara Moulton your Thanksgiving cooking question!
What Is the Turkey Roasting Procedure?
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Arrange an oven shelf in the lower third of the oven. Remove the neck and giblets from the body cavity of the turkey, reserving them for turkey broth (see turkey broth recipe). Drain the juices and pat the bird dry inside and out.
If stuffing, stuff right before roasting (see basic stuffing recipe) and return legs to tucked position.
Arrange the turkey breast side up in a rack (preferably a v-rack), set in a heavy large roasting pan. Melt a stick of butter and brush the turkey all over with one third of the butter. Season with salt and pepper and cover the whole turkey loosely with foil. Pour two cups of chicken broth into the bottom of the roasting pan and roast the turkey in the lower third of the oven for one hour. Uncover and baste with another third of the butter. Recover the turkey and roast until approximately half way through the total cooking time. Uncover the turkey, baste with the remaining butter and roast, uncovered, until a thermometer when inserted in the thickest part of the leg thigh joint reaches 165 degrees F.
Transfer the turkey to a platter, leaving the drippings in the pan for the gravy (see gravy recipe) and cover the turkey loosely with foil. Let the turkey rest for at least 20 minutes, preferably 30 minutes before carving.
How Can You Tell When the Turkey Is Done?
The turkey must be cooked to a temperature of 165 degrees. Read the temperature of the turkey by inserting a thermometer into the leg/thigh joint. The temperature will rise to 175 degrees with resting time.
Here's a guide, by weight, of turkey cooking times (at 325 degrees):
Eight to 12 lbs: 2 ¾ to 3 hours (unstuffed) 3 to 3 ½ hours (stuffed).
Twelve to 14 lbs: 3 to 3 ¾ hours (unstuffed) 3 ½ to 4 hours (stuffed).
Fourteen to 18 lbs: 3 ¾ to 4 ¼ hours (unstuffed) 4 to 4 ¼ hours (stuffed).
Eighteen to 20 lbs: 4 ¼ to 4 ½ hours (unstuffed) 4 ¼ to 4 ¾ hours (stuffed).
Twenty to 24 lbs: 4 ½ to 5 hours (stuffed) 4 ¾ hours to 5 ¼ hours (stuffed).
Here's a guide, by weight, of turkey cooking times in a convection oven (at 325 degrees):
Six to 10 lbs: 1 ½ to 2 hours (unstuffed) 1 ¾ to 2 ½ hours (stuffed).
Ten to 18 lbs: 2 to 2 ½ hours (unstuffed) 2 ½ to 3 ¼ hours (stuffed).
Eighteen to 22 lbs: 2 ½ to 3 hours (unstuffed) 3 ¼ to 3 ¾ (stuffed).
Twenty-two to 24 lbs: 3 to 3 ½ hours (unstuffed) 3 ¾ to 4 ¼ hours (stuffed).
How Soon Can You Carve the Turkey After Taking It Out of the Oven?
Turkey should rest for 20 to 30 minutes. If you loosely cover the turkey with foil, it will remain hot for up to one hour.
Resting allows the turkey to finish cooking. If you carve the turkey right after it's cooked without allowing it to rest, the juices will run out and the bird will be dry.
CLICK HERE to send Sara Moulton your Thanksgiving cooking question!