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Thanksgiving Tales: When the Turkey Tanks (6 photos)

Illustrations by Molly Brandenburg

Confounding Pans, Collapsing Tables and an Unexpected Trip

Bye-bye, birdie. Roasting pans have put readers in hot water. Case in point: spookyjimjams first Thanksgiving after moving out of her parents’ home. “We did everything traditionally, including … carving the turkey at the table,” she writes. “My husband (then boyfriend) carried the turkey pan to the table since we were too broke to have a nice platter. Well, the disposable pan buckled just as he made it to the table and everything, the turkey and about half a gallon of drippings, went straight on the carpeted dining room floor. Let me tell you that getting turkey fat out of carpet is how you lose your security deposit.”

This woman is not even close to alone. We received several tales of disposable pans collapsing at the critical moment. But disposable pans are not the only culprits. Pie pans and platters tend to jump and shatter at inopportune times too.

Pie toss. Take, for instance, what reader mmacintyre1 calls an epic holiday fail: “One Thanksgiving, I prepared my first homemade apple pie with a fancy, woven lattice-top crust. It looked perfect. My father-in-law, who had a very strong personality, admired my handiwork. Before I even picked up the pie to carry it to the oven, he started saying, ‘You’re going to drop it. Be careful. You’re going to drop it.’ He went over and opened the oven door for me, and continued the same insistent warning. Just as I started to put it into the oven, the PIE LEAPT OUT OF MY HANDS! It turned itself upside down in midair and splattered on the oven door. To this day, I believe that my father-in-law’s powerful words flipped that pie.”

A heavy meal. It’s not just pans that give out on Thanksgiving. Crystal Swanson writes, “One Thanksgiving we had a gigantic meal prepared. I set up an old metal folding table in the kitchen to serve the feast. The term ‘groaning board’ was apt in this case because, before my very horrified eyes, as we were starting to dish up buffet-style, the entire table collapsed with the weight of the food and dishes and sent everything cascading to the floor. We salvaged what we could, but that folding table got thrown out!”

Table that motion. Then there was that table in zeebee’s extended family. “A relative leaned heavily on the dining table extension, which made the legs buckle at one end of the loooong table,” she relates. “Everything that couldn’t be grabbed went cascading onto the floor, and my MIL lost all of her wedding china in the crash.”

In short, to put a mod spin on a traditional sentiment, haters gonna hate and turkeys are going to fall on the floor. When they do, Houzzers seem to be in agreement that it doesn’t hurt the taste if you just pick it up and dust it off.

Roll with it. Look at loraleemacpike and her first Thanksgiving after getting married (which, judging from our reader responses, is a time prone to holiday blunders). “We were going to a potluck, and I got to do the turkey,” she says. “I stuffed it, noting that the cavity was remarkably small. As I was carrying it to the car, I tripped on the stairs and the turkey flew off its pan and rolled down the street. I sat down and cried, but my husband picked up the turkey, dusted off the gravel and leaves, and put both the turkey and me into the car. No one seemed to notice at the hostess’ house, but when she went to make gravy, she commented on how sparse the drippings were. But the best was yet to come: When she went to scoop out the dressing, her spoon hit something hard, and she pulled out a bag of giblets!”

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