Ten Turkey Mishaps by Jannalee Rosner, The Food Dish

Golden Roasted Turkey in the oven with a meat thermometer. Turkey, roasted, thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years Eve, Holidays, Meat Thermometer, oven, cooking, restaurants, food, dinner,  poultry, cooking, stuffing, golden, cuisine

Golden Roasted Turkey in the oven with a meat thermometer. Turkey, roasted, thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years Eve, Holidays, Meat Thermometer, oven, cooking, restaurants, food, dinner, poultry, cooking, stuffing, golden, cuisine

As amateur cooks across the nation try to take on turkey, things don’t always end in golden brown deliciousness. That’s why in November of 1981, Butterball gathered their first force of six home economists to answer what turned out to be 11,000 turkey-related questions. Today the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line® now utilizes over 50 experts including Spanish speakers and men – a first this year – to answer more than 100,000 questions from distressed turkey chefs and chefs-in-training around the world.
Here are just a few quirky questions that the turkey hotline experts at 1-800-BUTTERBALL have fielded over the years:

Thawing:

• One caller asked if, after storing her turkey outside in colder than 40˚ F weather, it would be safe to eat. Unfortunately, an unexpected storm blew through and the turkey was lost in 10 inches of snow!

• Some callers have come up with very creative—and questionable—methods of defrosting the fowl, asking the Butterball experts if it’s safe to do so with an electric blanket, in the aquarium with the tropical fish, or even in the tub with their children!

• Hotline experts kindly explained to one caller that fresh turkey does not need to be thawed.
Preparation

• A few callers have learned that chainsaw oil and bleach do not a safe and edible turkey make! Brining your turkey in the washing machine is also a questionable sanitary move.

• Some callers are on the prowl for the best way to prepare a turkey for a vegetarian.

Cooking
• A new bride was concerned that her turkey would expand while cooking and get stuck in the oven. She was pleased to find out that Mr. Tom would actually shrink, if only a little.

• One truck driver was curious if he could cook his turkey on the engine block of his semi while he was driving. Even better, would faster driving mean faster cooking?

• More than once the folks at Butterball have answered calls from people in peril, asking the all-important question: “What do I do if my turkey is on fire?” The answer? Call 911.

And the crowning calls:

A woman rang the hotline in a panic because her Chihuahua had plunged itself into the turkey, and she couldn’t get it out! After trying to pull on the dog and shake the turkey to get him to fall out, she was advised to widen the hole the pooch had climbed in through and was then able to rescue him.
• Last, but definitely not least, “If I put my phone in the turkey, can you tell me if it’s done?”

They were unable to help this hopeful caller, though it wouldn’t be surprising if someday in the near future these experienced experts could tell a turkey’s tenderness over the telephone!

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Terrible Tom Turkey

Awfuls chasing tureyRepost of ne of my favorites.  Original art by Kathleen Swain.

When I was a kid, we often went places normal people would never intentionally go. Periodically, Daddy would realize he hadn’t spent any time around social misfits and needed a fix, bad! One day he announced he’d had heard of somebody who lived back in the woods about four miles off Tobacco Road who had a thingamajig he just had to have. Never mind, all five kids needed new shoes and the lights were due to be cut off. He NEEDED that thingamajig!

He HAD to check it out, driving forever down rutted roads that looked like they might disappear into nothing. Finally we got back to Mr. Tucker’s shack. Mr. Tucker was wearing overalls and nothing else. Apparently buttoning overalls wasted valuable time needed forpile junk collecting. While Daddy and Mr. Tucker disappeared into the tangle of weeds and mess of old cars, car tires, trash, broken washing machines and other refuse scattered around the house and into the woods. Mother sweltered in the car with the five of us while Daddy and Mr. Tucker rambled.

It was hot. It got hotter the longer we waited in the punishing July heat. We opened the car doors, hoping to catch a breeze as it got hotter and hotter. The baby and the two-year-old were squalling out their misery as Mother fanned them. Daddy wasn’t known for the consideration he showed his family. He was “the man.”

Mrs. Tucker, a big woman in overalls came out in the front yard and started a fire, never even looking our way. She probably thought our car was just another old clunker in their yard. It got even hotter. We were all begging for a drink of water. Daddy was still gone, admiring Mr. Tucker’s junk collection. Daddy could talk for hours, unconcerned that his family was sweltering in the car. He thought misery was character-building. It didn’t matter that he didn’t know the people he’d just stumbled up on. We spent many an hour waiting in the car while he “talked” usually having stopped off on the way to visit some of his relatives.

Finally, in desperation, Mother got out of the car, introduced herself to Mrs. Tucker, and asked if we could have a drink of water. Mrs, Tucker turned without speaking, went into the house, came back out with some cloudy snuff glasses, called us over to the well, drew a bucket of water, and let us drink till we were satisfied. That was the best water I ever had. Mrs. Tucker pulled a couple of chairs under a shade tree and Mother sat down. We all sat down in the dirt in the cool of the shade and played. Daddy was still prowling around in search of junk, but things looked a lot better after we cooled off and had a drink. Mrs. Tucker was interesting to look at, but didn’t have a lot to say. She had a couple of teeth missing, had greasy red hair that was chopped off straight around, and long scratches down both arms.

Mother tried to talk to her, but Mrs. Tucker wasn’t a great conversationalist. I suspect she didn’t know too many words. I couldn’t take my eyes off the missing teeth and long scratches down her arm. Despite Mother’s attempts to quell my questions, I found out a lot about her. She didn’t have any kids. It didn’t take long to figure out she “wasn’t right.” I was fascinated and wanted to ask about what happened to her teeth, but knew that would get me in trouble, so I asked how she scratched her arms. Mother told me to hush, but fortunately, Mrs. Tucker explained. It seemed she was going to put a rooster in the big pot in the front yard to scald him before plucking him. He’d scratched her and gotten away before she could get the lid on. Apparently she didn’t know she was supposed to kill him first. Just at the point where things were getting interesting, Daddy came back and I didn’t get to hear the rest of the story.

Mrs. Tucker gave us a turkey that day, teaching me a valuable lesson. Don’t ever accept the gift of a turkey. Ol’ Tom was going to be the guest of honor at our Thanksgiving Dinner. Daddy put him in the chicken yard and Tom took over, whipping the roosters, terrorizing the hens, and jumping on any kid sent to feed him and the chickens. We hated him. Mother had to take a stick to threaten him off when she went out to the chicken yard. He even flew over the fence and chased us as we played in the back yard till Daddy clipped his wings.

Before too long, we saw the Nickerson kids, the meanest kids in the neighborhood, headed for the chicken yard. Mother couldn’t wait to see Tom get them. Sure enough, Ol’ Devil Tom jumped out from behind a shed on jumped on the biggest boy, Clarence. Clarence yelped and ran. The other boys were right behind him, swatting at the turkey. Unlike us, they didn’t run out with their tails tucked between their legs. They launched an all-out attack on Tom, beating him with their jackets, sticks, and whatever they could grab. They chased him until they were tired of the game. Tom never chased any of us again, but Mother never got around to thanking the Nickersons.

How to Get Along With Obnoxious Poultry

 

Daddy was a nut about poultry.  He made regular patrols locally, and if he detected poultry, not in his collection, he couldn’t rest until he had one-upped whoever had put him in a “fowl mood. His enthusiasm didn’t last long enough to build a proper poultry yard, so the coyotes inevitably got whichever of the unfortunate creatures not roosting in the hen-house or trees.  He enthusiastically scouted out additions to his flock who served no function but grain-eating, making a lot of racket, and a free-range pooping.  Periodically, he would bring in a flock of guineas, boasting that they were excellent at letting him know if intruders were on the place.   Guinea fowl are typically smaller than chickens, eat just as much and lay small, thick-shelled speckled strong-tasting eggs. Their meat has a strong, somewhat unpleasant taste.  In addition to all this, at the first notice of a slight disturbance, they panic and go shrieking “pot-rack, pot-rack”, flying madly in all directions.  A slight disturbance is likely nothing more than a feather falling off a guinea hen standing nearby.  Having bragged about what excellent “watch dogs” they were, he’d tolerate the incessant racket and disturbance of the guineas better than the rest of us did.  I never felt bad when the coyotes snatched the last of the guineas.

Geese made an occasional appearance, remarkable for their noisy honking, arrogance, biting, and lifelong diarrhea.  Since we never ate nor plucked a goose, ours served absolutely no other purpose, other than giving up plenty of practice in guarding our backsides against their bites and teaching us the value of wiping our shoes.  Cool kids don’t show up at school with goose sh__ on their shoes. The coyotes liked geese, too.

Chickens were a given. They roosted in the chicken house at night to keep them safe from varmints, but they had the run of the place during the day.  They were pleasant to look at as they bobbed around the place, but weren’t interested in toilet training.  Most importantly, hens lay an egg a day a few months of the year.  They had a nice nesting box built high off the ground.  The prim and proper among them hopped up the little ladder, strolled along till they found their favorite nest, and deposited an egg. Afterward, they cackled out news of their accomplishment and hopped back down the ladder one hop at a time.  The renegades and slow learners stole away to hide a nest in the bushes.  Gathering eggs was a job for women and small children. Mother listened for these naughty girls and sent us scurrying to find their eggs.  It was very important not to take the “nest egg” or the hen would abandon the nest and steal away to hide her nest.  Hens weren’t too fussy about the nest egg being genuine and were perfectly satisfied with glass nest eggs, or an old white door knob, just so the handle pointed down.

We gathered eggs just before dark.  Should eggs be left in the nest after dark, chicken snakes were likely to steal them.  More than once I have reached in gather eggs and grabbed a scaly black snake instead of a warm fresh egg.  Once I was gratified to find a snake skeleton complete with a crushed glass egg resting inside.

In the spring, Mother would “set” her hens when she noticed hens acting “broody” or fussing around and feathering a nest.  Instead of gathering the broody hen’s eggs, she’d add a few eggs to the pile.  The hens never seemed bothered to see the increase.  They’d sit on the nest for about three weeks till the biddies hatched out.  She’d parade around proudly with her babies, fiercely protective.  Many a child, dog, or cat has lived to regret interfering with a mother hen’s babies.  They’d fly on an aggressor in a fury, flogging, spurring, and beating.  I learned early and well to respect Mother Hen.

My grandma loved her chickens and had personal relationships with them, naming each.  Her hens jumped on her shoulders when she went in the chicken yard.  She was not above pointing out to Mabel that Helen had laid a double-yoked egg, nor mentioning to them that if egg production didn’t pick up, a lazy chicken might get invited to Sunday dinner.  Grandma’s feelings for her hens got more personal as she got older, and she started retiring her hens instead of inviting them to Sunday dinner.  Grandpa raised peas to feed the chickens.  When he went into the chicken yard to toss them their peas, they fogged up to sit on his shoulders and on the top of his head.

Dogs loved eggs, too.  Should a dog be foolish enough to take up “egg-sucking” or “chicken-killing” his days on the farm were numbered.  When my grandpa’s dog got in and killed one of her precious layers, she tied the dead hen around his neck and made him wear it for several days, ridding him of his interest in chickens forever.

Once we had a Tom turkey, one of the most detestable creatures living.  He’d been given to Daddy by a deranged backwoodser who found him too evil for his tastes.  Naturally, Daddy grabbed him up and brought him straight home to us, leaving him to the care of his darling bride and tender children along with the rest of the rest of the barnyard creatures. Daddy enjoyed procuring creatures, not caring for them.  That’s what his family was for.  In theory, we only had to tolerate the turkey until Thanksgiving day, when Tom would be the centerpiece of our holiday table.  All we had to do was somehow survive until then.  At his previous home, he’d had a harem of turkey hens, till he got so mean he had to go. For a few days after his arrival, that devil had the run of our barnyard, terrorizing the other fowl.  Deprived of their gentling company, his testosterone exploded. They escaped into the tree branches, under the barn, into stalls, as soon as they’d hear him strutting and making his aggressive, scratchy mating sound, “Aruh! Aruh! Aruh!”  Turkeys don’t always say “Gobble, gobble, Gobble!  Denied the company of poultry, he was not picky about partners, jumping on anything that didn’t get out of his way.  He was no respecter of species and attempted to molest pigs. goats, and even horses.  I was so glad when Daddy put a stop to his antics.  That was one year we gave heartfelt thanks a few weeks early.

Terrible Tom Turkey and the Thingamajig

Original art by Kathleen Swain

Evil turkey

Evil turkey

Awfuls chasing turey

Awfuls chasing turey

When I was a kid, we often went places normal people would never intentionally go.  Periodically, Daddy would realize he hadn’t spent any time around social misfits and needed a fix, bad!  One day he announced he’d had heard of somebody who lived back in the woods about four miles off Tobacco Road who had a thingamajig he just had to have.  Never mind, all five kids needed new shoes and the lights were due to be cut off.  He NEEDED that thingamajig!

He HAD to check it out, driving forever down rutted roads that looked like they might disappear into nothing. Finally we got back to Mr. Tucker’s shack. Mr. Tucker was wearing overalls and nothing else. Apparently buttoning overalls wasted valuable time needed forpile junk collecting. While Daddy and Mr. Tucker disappeared into the tangle of weeds and mess of old cars, car tires, trash, broken washing machines and other refuse scattered around the house and into the woods.  Mother sweltered in the car with the five of us while Daddy and Mr. Tucker rambled.

It was hot. It got hotter the longer we waited in the punishing July heat. We opened the car doors, hoping to catch a breeze as it got hotter and hotter. The baby and the two-year-old were squalling out their misery as Mother fanned them.  Daddy wasn’t known for the consideration he showed his family.  He was “the man.”

Mrs. Tucker, a big woman in overalls came out in the front yard and started a fire, never even looking our way. She probably thought our car was just another old clunker in their yard. It got even hotter. We were all begging for a drink of water. Daddy was still gone, admiring Mr. Tucker’s junk collection. Daddy could talk for hours, unconcerned that his family was sweltering in the car.  He thought misery was character-building. It didn’t matter that he didn’t know the people he’d just stumbled up on. We spent many an hour waiting in the car while he “talked” usually having stopped off on the way to visit some of his relatives.

Finally, in desperation, Mother got out of the car, introduced herself to Mrs. Tucker, and asked if we could have a drink of water. Mrs, Tucker turned without speaking, went into the house, came back out with some cloudy snuff glasses, called us over to the well, drew a bucket of water, and let us drink till we were satisfied. That was the best water I ever had. Mrs. Tucker pulled a couple of chairs under a shade tree and Mother sat down. We all sat down in the dirt in the cool of the shade and played. Daddy was still prowling around in search of junk, but things looked a lot better after we cooled off and had a drink. Mrs. Tucker was interesting to look at, but didn’t have a lot to say. She had a couple of teeth missing, had greasy red hair that was chopped off straight around, and long scratches down both arms.

Mother tried to talk to her, but Mrs. Tucker wasn’t a great conversationalist.  I suspect she didn’t know too many words.  I couldn’t take my eyes off the missing teeth and long scratches down her arm. Despite Mother’s attempts to quell my questions, I found out a lot about her. She didn’t have any kids. It didn’t take long to figure out she “wasn’t right.” I was fascinated and wanted to ask about what happened to her teeth, but knew that would get me in trouble, so I asked how she scratched her arms. Mother told me to hush, but fortunately, Mrs. Tucker explained. It seemed she was going to put a rooster in the big pot in the front yard to scald him before plucking him.  He’d scratched her and gotten away before she could get the lid on. Apparently she didn’t know she was supposed to kill him first. Just at the point where things were getting interesting, Daddy came back and I didn’t get to hear the rest of the story.

Mrs. Tucker gave us a turkey that day, teaching me a valuable lesson. Don’t ever accept the gift of a turkey. Ol’ Tom was going to be the guest of honor at our Thanksgiving Dinner. Daddy put him in the chicken yard and Tom took over, whipping the roosters, terrorizing the hens, and jumping on any kid sent to feed him and the chickens. We hated him. Mother had to take a stick to threaten him off when she went out to the chicken yard. He even flew over the fence and chased us as we played in the back yard till Daddy clipped his wings.

Before too long, we saw the Nickerson kids, the meanest kids in the neighborhood, headed for the chicken yard. Mother couldn’t wait to see Tom get them. Sure enough, Ol’ Devil Tom jumped out from behind a shed on jumped on the biggest boy, Clarence. Clarence yelped and ran. The other boys were right behind him, swatting at the turkey. Unlike us, they didn’t run out with their tails tucked between their legs. They launched an all-out attack on Tom, beating him with their jackets, sticks, and whatever they could grab. They chased him until they were tired of the game. Tom never chased any of us again, but Mother never got around to thanking the Nickersons.

Laugh Your Way With Best Thanksgiving Jokes of the Day

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An industrious farmer was always experimenting with breeding, his mission was to produce the perfect turkey. His family was fond of the leg portion for dinner and there were never enough legs for everyone.

After many frustrating attempts, the farmer was relating the results of his efforts to his friends at the general store. ‘Well I finally did it! I bred a turkey that has six legs!’ They all asked the farmer how it tasted.

‘I don’t know, ‘said the farmer, ‘I never could catch one!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Terrible Tom Tucker the Turkey

Evil turkey

Evil turkey

Awfuls chasing turey

Awfuls chasing turey

We went places and saw people that normal people would never encounter, nor care to. Daddy had heard of somebody living back in the woods about four miles off Tobacco Road who had something he might be interested in buying. He had to check it out, driving forever down muddy roads petering out into nothing. Finally we got back to Mr. Tucker’s Continue reading