Working with a Bunch of Turkeys

“A lot of Thanksgiving days have been ruined by not carving the turkey in the kitchen.” – Kin Hubbard

As I watched the news in Arizona recently, I was struck by a TV report that there might be a shortage of turkeys. With Thanksgiving just around the corner and with this being a favourite American holiday, the situation is serious.

Whenever I decide to cook a turkey or hear of someone else doing so, it’s certainly not a shortage that comes to mind. In fact, it’s just the opposite – too much of a good thing. And it’s not Thanksgiving that pops to mind, but Christmas, to be more precise it’s the annual Christmas dinner social hosted every year by our local school.

Let me explain. Each year the grade 12 class and the parents prepare and host anywhere from 200 to 400 people to a beautiful turkey dinner. They do this to raise money for their graduation, but every year (at least when I was involved) there seemed to be a “turkey incident”.

On one occasion we began to carve the turkey only to find that someone had forgotten to remove the bag containing the heart, gizzard and liver. A big discussion ensued as to whether or not the turkey was edible. In the end we served it and no one suffered any serious consequences. After all, it’s not like we served them the bag!

Another time I was asked to cook a turkey for the dinner, but there was a problem – a big problem. That bird was huge, 23 pounds huge! I tried to squeeze that oversized fowl into the largest roaster I owned, but it barely fit. By the time I added liquid for the gravy it was an overload situation. I set the timer for early morning, but around 6:30 a.m. I thought I smelled smoke. I headed downstairs to find all the liquid had boiled over and I now had an oven fire. Oh well, who needs gravy anyway?

Another year I was crossing the street from the school to the hall (where the dinner was held) when I witnessed a student trying to wrestle a large roaster out of the backseat of her car. I rushed over to help, but before I could get there the lid popped open and that big golden bird just bounced out and landed in a pile of snow. My student stood there stunned and then started to cry.

“What am I going to do?” she wailed.

“No problem. This snow is fresh and clean.” I replied. So we rolled that gobbler back into the roaster, took it inside, washed it off, served it up and no one was the wiser (until now that is). For some time after, that student and I enjoyed a giggle over our little secret.

So while Americans may be lamenting the shortage of turkey this year, I’m thinking a ham or beef roast might not be such a bad idea.

(For close to 36 years I taught school, mainly high school English, and my last 6 years I was the principal of our school. So I was part of many Christmas dinners and they were all great.)

mr.bean's turkey

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2 thoughts on “Working with a Bunch of Turkeys

  1. The tradition still continues at Invermay School. I am so looking forward to the Christmas Dinner…turkey with all the trimmings…Your article brought back many memories of the Christmas Concert, followed by the Christmas Dinner at Invermay School.

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