In the autumn of 1979, I found myself nose to nose (so to speak) with my first Thanksgiving turkey. I'd never cooked a turkey before.
This was also my first Thanksgiving with my husband and I wanted it to be special.
My first quandary was the realization that I was going to have to stick my arm up inside this bird. I'd been a vegetarian until just a few months earlier and I quailed. (Yeah, sorry a little bird humor there.)
Yikes! I asked my husband to do this particular dirty work.
He, knowing he'd like to have a Thanksgiving dinner, and also knowing he was in real jeopardy of not having one if he didn't comply, reached in and pulled the neck from the bird's cavity.
And that, I thought, was that. I made stuffing from scratch, chopping onions and sauteing them in butter. I added sage and parsley.
I cooked potatoes and mashed them. Made gravy that was only a little lumpy. I tossed some frozen corn into a pot.
I'd bought a pumpkin pie -- I figured I had enough new challenges to tackle for that first holiday meal. I blessed the bakers as I put it in the oven.
My little kitchen smelled just like a real Thanksgiving.
The table was crowded with food, and I beamed as my husband picked up the carving knife.
But what's this?
As he sliced through the breast meat, something looked ... shiny. He dug his fingers in and pulled out the little white plastic bag containing the giblets.
Panic gave way to a crimson embarrassment. Mental note to self -- always check the chest cavity for the plastic bag.
The next year I was working at a group home for mentally challenged adults. I was scheduled to be there for the residents' Thanksgiving dinner. Another staff member had helped with the cooking. I arrived in time to eat.
As it happened, the staff member who helped cook had never done a turkey before. I wasn't entirely surprised to see a white plastic bag peek through after the initial slice of the carving knife.
She was mortified. I enjoyed the role of the older sage who had been there and done that, and shared my experience to help ease her red face.
Is there a moral to this story?
If there is, it's this.