Several years ago when I was still in the “honeymoon” stage of cooking, we had Thanksgiving meal with all the relatives at our house. (The “honeymoon” stage is when you want everything to be really cute and perfect. The smallest failure can result in tears.) It was my opportunity to “shine” for my in-laws.
We planned to barbecue the turkey. (You do that kind of thing in California in November.) My “perfect” Thanksgiving dinner was “less than perfect.” When Steve went to light up the grill, we were out of briquettes. All was not lost, however. After a quick trip to the store, we were ready to get cooking. The turkey cooked a lot faster than I expected, so it ended up being done long before the “enchanted broccoli forest.” Even though my timing was not perfect and some dishes were served cold, I was so proud of our barbecued turkey. It was cooked to perfection.
Steve was pleased that we could have Thanksgiving at our house because that meant lots of leftovers. Steve’s dad carved the beautiful bird. He put the remainder of the carcass that still had some meat on it in the refrigerator. We had heard that the meat would stay moister if left on the carcass.
After several days, Steve commented that it would be nice to have a turkey sandwich. “Oh yeah, we have turkey in the fridge,” I replied. I filed that information in my brain to be retrieved at a later date, like the next day.
After a couple more days passed, I noticed this…uh…smell coming from the refrigerator. Being a couple of months pregnant, I made a mad dash to the bathroom. My mind began to race. What do I do? I wonder if Steve would mind if I called him to come home from work for this? No, probably not a good idea…The garbage man doesn’t come for a few more days, and I can’t leave that smelly thing in the garbage can. I must take action—now!
I opened the refrigerator and as fast as I could, I pulled the neatly wrapped carcass out. Without breathing, I ran to the garage, put the turkey down, then ran back into the house and took a deep breath.
Now what do I do?
A brilliant idea popped into my head. I will put it into someone else’s garbage.
I opened the garage door and ran the carcass out to the car. Oh no! I don’t want that in my car. I put it on the hood. That’ll work!
I got in the car and began to drive. I kept looking behind me. I was sure I would be found out. Nope, no dogs chasing me yet.
I found a dumpster, heaved it in, and ran back to the car. Whew! I made it. Driving back to the house I felt like I had somehow participated in a great feat of espionage. I should have worn a dark coat on my adventure.
My thoughts returned to why I put the carcass in the refrigerator in the first place. Oops! Now that that’s taken care of, how am I going to make Steve a leftover turkey sandwich?
Since my little carcass incident, I have made a Thanksgiving motto. As soon as the turkey is carved I say, “Out with the carcass!” I have learned since then that it is okay to take all of the turkey off the bone. It is even okay to freeze it. I just cut up all the leftover turkey into bite-sized pieces and fill up Ziploc freezer bags with about two cups of meat in each bag. Of course, you should label and date the bags so you don’t forget what is in them or forget how old the meat is. I only tell you this because I forget to label everything and you should learn from my mistakes.
What are some of the mistakes you’ve made around the holidays? Do you have any funny stories to share?