The Suitcase Lady


November 26, 2019, 11:22 pm

It’s time again for turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy and Brussel sprouts, the Peter Pans of the cabbage family that refuse to grow up.

I have roasted many turkeys and freely admit that I have not mastered the art. So many things can go wrong when you are dealing with large, dead birds. For example, my first attempt when I found that slimy plastic bag of turkey parts just before popping the bird in the oven. A close call.

But I am not alone. Several turkey hotlines exist where flummoxed cooks can call for help. The folks at Snopes, the wonderful fact-checking service, asked the hot line experts about the most incredible questions they’ve received. Here are some of their favorite queries.

  • Can you tell if the turkey is done by filling the cavity with popcorn and waiting for it to pop out?
  • How can I find my turkey in a snowbank? The woman had put her bird in a snowbank to keep it frozen overnight but a new snowfall occurred. The advisor could only suggest that future birds be marked with a tall stick and flag.
  • When I carve my bird with a chainsaw, will any leaking motor oil affect the bird’s taste? This was a guy question.
  • Why do I always have to cut off the bird’s legs before roasting? The wise advisor ascertained from the caller that her mother always did that and deduced that the mother’s oven was very small.
  • How do I get the little metal pieces off  my bird? Answer: The next time you clean your bird, don’t use a Brillo pad.
  • Can I put my bird in a Reynolds Oven Bag and put it on my car’s back window ledge to bake in the sun? Numerous other cooks had to be told not to roast birds on the radiators of their apartments.
  • Can I speed up the cooking of my bird by using my stove cleaning cycle?
  • Is my five pound turkey done? It’s been in the oven for 24 hours?
  • I’ve got my turkey thawed and have one question. What number should I set the dial to on my electric blanket? The advisor admits to having been momentarily speechless to that man’s question.

I have saved my favorite for last. It was the second question the Turkey Talk Lines first male advisor received and he sites it as the most amusing one of his career. A woman called to help him locate a 36 pound turkey. His verbatim reply follows:

“Ma’am, at 36 pounds that is not a turkey… There are two reasons why we don’t carry that size and we can’t locate it for you. One, that is an ostrich. Two, your average oven won’t give enough head space for the turkey to cook evenly.”

Happy Thanksgiving!

3 Comments for this entry

  • Carol Langkabel

    My first turkey was unfortunately roasted with that little slimy plastic bag inside

  • Mary

    Yes, and I have no doubt that you and I weren’t the only ones who were surprised by the location of that bag!
    Hope all is well with you, despite the mess our country is in. As Shel Silverstein said, “All the magic I have known, I’ve had to make myself.” With our friends and families, we will manage to still be able to laugh.

  • everobillard

    Yes, I remember the bag with parts–surprise, surprise! As I recall the bag was some sort of paper, though. (Well, I am older than you, Mary. My turkey event may have happened in ’64 or ’65 . . . )