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Let's Talk Turkey!

WOW! Can you believe that Thanksgiving is just around the corner?

And guess who is hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year?



Why do I dread it?
It's not the cooking....which I don't claim to be a great cook, but I have a fantastic recipe book for all the Thanksgiving fixing.

It's not that I don't like to have all the company! I do. If there is one thing that you should know about me....I'm loyal as loyal can be. I LOVE my family and enjoy every second being with them.

BUT hosting the family Thanksgiving dinner for twenty was taken away from me six years ago.

Well...they never said, "Um....Tonya, you can't have Thanksgiving anymore." They were a little more subtle, "Your sister is going to have it. OR Mom is going to do it this year."

I guess I couldn't blame them. After all, six years ago I did screw up Thanksgiving dinner.


This is how I dreamed of my turkey six years ago. It was going to be a grand dinner. After all, me and my guys had just moved into our new house, the paint was barely dried on the walls, and the house was going to be filled with overflowing love.

Our new neighbors were having a WELCOME TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD party for us the night before. (The night before Thanksgiving is a BIG party night in the town that I live in. I mean all night parties!) And we were very excited about meeting all the new families and celebrating the upcoming holidays.

Carefully I put my 30 pound uncooked turkey in the sink to help finish the thawing process before I put it in the oven overnight for slow, tender, juicy cooking. We have a fabulous wood burning stove, which was blazing because of the four inches of snow we had on the ground. There is nothing better than warming your bum with a wood burning stove! I added more wood to the fire and made a mental note to send one of my guys to check on it during the party. After all, we JUST moved in and I didn't want to burn the house down! 

After letting the dogs out to go potty, off the six of us went, with a cocktail in hand, we made our way to the neighbors.

Plenty of food and drink to go around. Everyone was so welcoming and inviting! It was fabulous! Two hours into the party, I glanced at my watch. It was time. Quietly, I called one of my guys over and begged him to go check on the fire and dogs. Of course he protested at first because he was in the middle of some XBox game with another neighborhood kid, but I sent him anyways.

Minutes later he was running into the party, flailing his arms, screaming my name. "Oh my God, Mom! Come quick!" I yelled for my husband to follow me. I didn't even bother to thank the host for having us, I just knew I had to get home. 

Frantically I raced to the house, sure it was on fire! My guy had ran ahead of me, I didn't get a chance to ask what was wrong. I just Forest Gump.

"What? What is wrong?" I asked my son as I looked around the inside of our house. I didn't see smoke, I didn't smell smoke.
"There!" He pointed. I followed his finger to the worst scene imaginable.

My dogs had gotten the turkey out of the sink, dragged it into the family room and feasted on my uncooked meat right in front of the wood burning stove!

Raw turkey and dogs.....Throwing them in the car, I rushed to the emergency vet clinic. They told me to watch them and wait. So....$100 and one hour later, I put them back in the car, with Thanksgiving on my mind. The Walmart sign off the interstate caught my eye. Surely they would have some Turkeys!

WRONG!!! Completely out!

The next day I got up bright and early, going to every single grocery store you can possibly imagine in the greater Cincinnati area. NO LUCK!

Defeated, upset, and mad, I noticed the Cracker Barrel Restaurant was booming. They had Thanksgiving dinners! I whipped my car into the parking lot and with hope in my heart, jogged right on in and up to the hostess stand.

Long story was too late to order a dinner for over twenty people. 

With less than one hour until my guest arrive, I did the only option I had left. No turkey for Thanksgiving.

I already had the hors d'oeuvres made, sides for the dinner and the desserts. Thanksgiving would go on without the turkey.

Hours later, after me pushing the snacks, we were all seated at the beautifully designed table scape. I didn't say a word and neither did my guys (because I threatened them with their lives!) and we passed all the sides around. Everyone's plates were filled to the edge, there wasn't room for turkey anyways. dad....."Give me a leg." He rubbed his hands together with a smile on his face. 
"Where is the wishbone?" My niece gleefully asked. It was tradition that she got the wishbone every year because she is the only girl in the family.

I gave my guys the eye. You know...THE EYE!  And continued to shovel the sweet potato casserole in my mouth, with a roll chaser. But the questions were followed up by my mom heading into the kitchen to look for the turkey platter. The slam of the over door could've been heard from three houses down.

"Tonya, where is the turkey?" She gave ME the eye! know...THE EYE!

"Funny thing about that turkey...we decided to go without this year." I continued to eat. 

"You know, Tonya dear." My aunt patted my uncle's hand, and whispered,  "She's an artist. Sometimes they eat meat, sometimes they don't. Just fill up on the rolls."

Now after SIX loooong years, I finally get to host a REAL THANKSGIVING DINNER in our house. This time the turkey will go straight from the refrigerator to the stove!


Do you have any funny Thanksgiving tales? I'm giving away a copy of my new book COLOR ME A Crime (out Thanksgiving week) to one lucky comment! Winner will be picked on Thanksgiving night!


  1. Tonya, this is my first year cooking for my family (boys and hubs) and I'm scared poopless. However, that being said, I didn't buy a whole turkey I bought breast chops and 2 ginormous legs so hopefully I can cook it well. Whole birds even small chickens don't like to cook for me even when I follow directions........Anyway! Hope yours goes well this year! Happy Thanksgiving! <3 Tobi

    1. Hahhaa! Don't be scared. Even I'm not scared...I'm just glad I get the opportunity to screw it up again! Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. Well I remember when I hosted my first big family Thanksgiving everyone told me the stories of the people mistaking the gizzards and innerds of the turkey for stuffing. Well I was so proud of myself for making cakes and pies and the works, that is until my brothers decided to eat my mashed potatoes that I made and I used my brand new cast iron pan. Don't use uncured cast iron, your potatoes will turn green. So now to this day I am constantly reminded of my green mashed potatoes and my pumpkin SALT pie. Yes I used salt instead of sugar. LMAO Needless to say everything else turned out delicious. :)

  3. Oh, wow! No funny stories. But yours is great! My grandma didn't like turkey, so we never had it. But we ALWAYS had a delicious ham! ;)

    1. Oh! We love ham too. We generally have that for Christmas....I wonder if they will ever let me have Christmas dinner??

  4. The very first year I was in charge of cooking the turkey. I forgot to pull the baggie of "extras", I stuffed the turkey with that bag inside. That was 6 yrs ago, it hasn't happened again. :)


    1. all I can say....EWWWW.....

  5. Last year, we each got a job. One person made the stuffing, another did the potatoes, yet another handled the entire turkey and I was in charge of the sweet potatoes. At 89, Daddy just kept watch on the football game (between naps). I really liked our new tradition. My mom used to do everything. Somehow, being surrounded by everyone in my kitchen is the best part of the day for me. By the way, we've done everything to our turkey preps... we've fried them, slow cooked over night, we've baked them upside down... Never did try thm wrapped in bacon though.

    1. That's a great idea! Since our family continues to grow, this is probably going to be in our future. We love to watch Home Alone, football and nap too :)

  6. Your story was humorously told, but it made me very sad for you. I know you had put a lot of thought, effort, planning, & $$$ into that meal. To have it trashed by the dogs must have been heart-breaking.
    You have a lot of fortitude and a VERY positive attitude to be able to look back on this event with humor. Good for you.
    [yeah, enter me in the drawing, please]

    1. Oh, Jeff! I just have to sit and laugh or I'd cry myself silly.

  7. I don't have a crazy Thanksgiving Day story :o( I come from a HUGE, crazy, Italian family. Any meal or get together at my house tends to get out of control and hysterically funny.

    1. Sitting around the table with funny family stories is a great memory, not only for you, but for kids too.

  8. Pick me, pick me! :)
    I have a big family, so we usually have 35-40 for Thanksgiving. There's always some kind of drama going on with us. You name it, we've probably experienced it. I can't wait to watch my favorite Thanksgiving movie of all time - "Home for the Holidays." It always makes me feel better about our craziness.

    Happy Thanksgiving, Tonya - and much gratitude for our friendship!

    1. Mary, you are speaking my language!! BUT which version of Home for The Holidays?? The older one is best!

      Happy Thanksgiving!! I cherish you!

  9. Well, I haven't hosted a Thanksgiving for my family--usually about 35+ for dinner--since I moved from my family's town to the ranch up here in '06. Now, we pick either my mom's place or my brothers and we all create a dish and bring it to the family dinner. Pretty well coordinated. This year I'm bringing venison and a couple of pies.

    I do remember, not long after I was married,baking a 30 pound turkey to take to my moms, 10 hours north of me, at the time. Let's just say, the worse snow storm in years hit the mountain range. When I left my house it was raining (end of drought raining). I'll never forget that journey. 3 days, a spin out in the mountains, a median full of snow, a nice trucker who pulled me out, a turkey which survived it all. Oh my.

    BTW. I like what you've done here to your site!

    1. What a wonderful way to celebrate, Sia! GOSH! Thank goodness your story turned out okay. YOU and the turkey survived! Happy Thanksgiving!

  10. LOL great story, Tonya! Mine is similar - my 13yo daughter made 2 pumpkin pies with a special recipe one year. She was so proud of them! She set them way back on the counter overnight and we couldn't wait to eat them. But in the morning, we fiund that one of our Rottweilers tjat we keep crated overnight had gotten out. You guessed it - the pie pans wer on the kitchen floor! They did leave us half a pie, though. This year, the pies will fo on top of the fridge!

    1. Hahahhaa! That is so similar! Only....your poor daughter! All that work :(

  11. My father was cooking one year not sure if it was because my mom was sick already, but he locked the oven as in the self cleaning oven. Not sure if you know but once one of those is locked it has to cool to zero before you can open it again. Yes that is correct we had raw turkey and ziti that year.


    1. Hahhaa!! That is a good one! Love his heart!

  12. I've never cooked a turkey...that's my husband's job. We go to my daughter Erica's now that she's married and has her own house and she does a great job! We always Black Friday shop. One year we went to the Premium Outlets in Wrenthem, MA. It took us an hour to get into the parking lot and almost as long before we found a spot. We finally found an almost empty spot. There was a guy standing in it. Erica didn't care she just drove in...he wouldn't move. So I jumped out of the car with Erica's mother-in-law right behind me and we moved him out of the way! He told us he was saving the spot for his mom. We told him she'd have to find another. We had a great time! Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. Oh, Lori! I can't wait to be able to just go to one of my guy's houses and do all the fun shopping stuff. I've yet to participate in any Black Friday.

      Hilarious! I can not believe that guy didn't move! Too funny!! I'd done the same thing!

  13. We are hosting a Turkey Day buffet for 3 dozen guests... all family and extended family and friends.

    I don't make a bird. I'll be roasting 2 large breasts and 6 large thighs. Add in 2 trays of meat lasagne, 6lbs of sweet and sour meatballs, and all the salads and sides and it should fill everyone up.

    I'm like you, in that I don't like crowds.. so I greet everyone and slip quietly into my den/library/computer room. If someone wishes to speak with me they can just knock on the door and request entrance. LOL

    Have a great Thanksgiving.

    1. Nora, I'll send them your way! Your dinner sounds delicious. I always have to have something other than turkey to eat on the days after Thanksgiving. AND lasagna sounds great! Growing up they called me lasagna Tonya b/c I love it!

  14. We don't have Thanksgiving but last Xmas was a bummer. I had stress just before the day so wasn't up to helping Mum on the actual day. Then it all went pear shaped when my brother and that came over. They didn't tell us, we found out the next day, but they had split up. The atmosphere was difficult to say the least, and they left earlier than we expected them to, and abruptly which upset us a bit, and confused us.

    1. The holidays can be so hard. I hope you have a better year.

  15. I will never forget the first Thanksgiving dinner that I hosted for my husband's family. Married less than a year, 22 years old and no stranger in the kitchen. I put my lace tablecloth on the table. I set the table with my fine china.I put candles on the table. I was a little nervous and wanted everything to be perfect. I put the turkey in the oven, cooked the vegetables, mashed the potatoes, took the turkey out of the oven and it was raw. The oven malfuntioned and even though I had set it for 350 it was barely warm. Yhe family still brings it up to this day.

    1. Oh no! A raw turkey is just as bad as no turkey :)

  16. My family alternates between my parents house and my aunts house for Thanksgiving. Everything seems to go wrong the year dinner is at my aunt's house. I could tell you so many dysfunctional of my favorites is the year at my aunt's when we all anticipated a home cooked Thanksgiving meal and what we got was not even close! My aunt can be moody at times...and we all know to just stay out of her way when she has that look in her know the one! So, we got the hint right away and left the kitchen. We all gathered in the living room to await the mouth watering feast. Finally, my aunt walked into the living room, didn't say a word but gave us the "its ready" look and went to her bedroom. My young cousins sprinted to the dining room...okay, so did the hungry adults! No one was prepared for what laid before us on the table. The first thing that caught my eye was the loaf of bread...still in the Butternut packaging. The next thing my eyes wandered to was the plate that usually holds a juicy turkey was now holding a dry, butchered bird shredded into pieces...looking very much like canned chicken. The feast also included potato salad, deviled eggs, chips, and a jar of mayo. I think there might have been chocolate chip cookies...baked or store bought still remains a mystery. No mashed potatoes, no stuffing, no pumpkin pie. We ate in silence. Still to this day no one knows why my aunt did that and no one is brave enough to ask! So, needless to say, everyone including my uncle and cousins...and I secretly think my aunt too...are thrilled when dinner is at my parents house. And I'm very happy to say that this year it is!

    Thank you for sharing your Thanksgiving story and allowing us to share ours! Happy Thanksgiving!


    1. Hahhaa!! This all sounds like the Christmas Vacation family dinner!! I LOVE IT!

    2. We are a reality show waiting to happen!!! Some people might find this kind of family to be "embarrassing" but I've learned to embrace the crazy and enjoy life! :)


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