Stale Stuffing, Tainted Turkeys and other Thanksgiving Disasters

I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all experienced Thanksgiving Feasts that have gone awry.

Many years ago it was my cousin’s turn to host and the evening could not have been more beautiful. When it was time to be seated, she beamed with pride as she carried an expertly prepared golden-brown bird into her dining room – and dropped it on the floor.

There were gasps, followed by sympathetic reassurances that everything would be all right. Fortunately she had several Tombstone pizzas in the freezer and the meal went on with minimal delay. (Postscript: The following year she sent invitations to The Second Annual Turkey Drop Dinner.)

When it comes to Thanksgiving meals, I think most people have one item that they avoid. For me, that item is stuffing. One year it was so stale that I could barely muster an obligatory bite. But as I politely scattered the remnants about my plate, I noticed the ingredients included tiny bits of burger. I thought, “Why didn’t they just stuff this thing with White Castles?”

And that was the inspiration for my White Castle Stuffing. Whenever I roast a turkey, I stuff it with sliders, accentuated with a little sage or poultry seasoning. And lots of diced hamburger dill pickles. (Chef’s Note: The buns don’t hold up well to the heat. So stuff a few extras in there. Or some croutons.)

Recently I met Gigi Spires, a Williamson County realtor who experienced an epic Thanksgiving disaster. I’ll let her explain:

“I took the turkey out of the oven and put it on a platter, proudly carrying it into the dining room. We started to carve it and realized there was a problem. The turkey was raw! We carved it and threw it into the microwave to try to salvage it. But it was terrible and like rubber.

“There were about 10 of us there and it was my first time to host the holiday … and the last for awhile. I was embarrassed but we did have a good laugh. My mom took the blame as she had told me to cook it super low all night. But she forgot to tell me to turn the oven up in the morning.”


Later, Gigi sent a letter to a producer at Food Network that led to an appearance on Dear Food Network: Thanksgiving Day Disasters where she prepped and roasted turkey breasts with celebrity chef Guy Fieri in his backyard.

If there’s a moral to this story it’s this: If you’re Thanksgiving feast fails, embrace it with a healthy dose of humor. And keep a stash of frozen pizzas on hand. Just in case.