Food & Drink

Your Biggest Thanksgiving Disasters

When the turkey is served with a side of catastrophe

An undercooked bird,  an overserved guest, a trip to the emergency room—it’s all part of the holidays, right? We asked G&G readers to share their Thanksgiving mishaps, and here are a few of their responses:

We lost a turkey one year. I will leave it at that. Mom still can’t talk about it, and it was over 15 years ago. —Jessica B. 


Sister-in-law broke her nose during the family touch football game. —Rusty M.


The neighbor’s dog ate the raw turkey. —Tara M. 


I had to run out to the store for last-minute supplies and left two large pans of mixed, but not yet baked, dressing on the countertop.  Came back to find one completely gone and the other halfway disappeared—and a very satisfied rotund dog. I should have known better, she was a known cornbread fiend. —Tara W. 


Pumpkin pie made accidentally with Jamaican jerk ginger. —Heather F.


Ran out of gas frying a turkey. We had pizza. —Tom M. 


The dog was caught licking the desserts in the other room. I just cut around it and still served them. Hahahaha. —Jean K.


A huge misunderstanding on what time food would be ready and people being late, resulting in my mom and aunt not speaking for a very long time. —Shelly M. 


Four different families … all thought the other was doing the turkey. Ended up with ten Publix rotisserie chickens. —Craig W. 


I accidentally stirred pieces of a dead cricket into the gravy (long story). Daughter dumped a pan of hot grease down her leg (third-degree burns). We have many disasters. —Nancy A. 


Husband, while chopping vegetables, sliced his finger instead of celery, which resulted in a trip to the ER. —Marie N. 


My mom didn’t fully cook the turkey, and we all got food poisoning. It hit me at a bar the night before the Georgia-Georgia Tech game and everyone cheered me on while I puked my guts out because they thought I was so drunk. —Danny O. 


Aunt drank too much and passed out at the dinner table. —Emily H. 


Set the turkey on the stovetop when it was done. It slid to the floor and burst all over. Then the dogs arrived. We had great sides that night … with some turkey rinsed off with hot water in the sink. —James 


Last year, my brother’s girlfriend got a call that her grandmother had passed away suddenly. She came to the table fairly composed, though clearly tears had been shed. My godson hears this information and decides to tell a mortician joke. Not only does he make the decision to tell a super uncomfortable joke, but he forgets the punchline, so the uncomfortable silence dragged on extra long, just for good measure. —Amanda H. 


One year, my Nana put the hot turkey on a cold, porcelain platter being held by my mother. The platter split down the middle, and the turkey plunged to the floor. We picked that bad boy up, wiped it off with a dishtowel and acted like nothing happened. It was the only time I heard my mother curse. —Stephanie K. 


I dropped the cranberry sauce on the cream-colored carpet. The spray on the walls looked like a crime scene. I sent my son to the store to get cranberries. He came back with cherries. —Melissa S. 


Sister and her husband announced their divorce. —Winnie G. 


A guest trying to light candles with a rolled-up paper towel, then dumped the water pitcher on the ensuing fire. Or the exploding crock pot full of mashed potatoes. —Patsy C. 


Mom put out the leftovers in the screened-in porch to cool. An owl broke through the screen and went crazy on the porch before safely escaping. We had to throw everything away :(—Allison


Tomato Aspic. It terrified all my friends as it sat there jiggling and mocking me. —William A.


We were having a big family Thanksgiving at my older brother’s home. Both he and my husband, Peyton, were to buy a fourteen-pound turkey to cook on each Weber grill. Both of them looked at the price instead of the weight. Peyton’s weighed twenty-five pounds, my brother’s, twenty-eight pounds. It was hilarious watching them trying to cook those huge birds on the grills, and they couldn’t even “get at each other” about the mistake since each had made it! —Sissy L. 


The year my cousin’s husband tossed a rock into a pecan tree to make more pecans fall, hitting a niece in the head and sending her to the emergency room for stitches. —A.L.


It took a couple of years for everyone to get over me cussing out all the people who kept coming into the kitchen to tell me how I should be doing it despite having not raised a hand to assist. Pre-meal wine has been banned. —Tara W. 


The time our dachshund chewed off the bottom of my grandmother’s pants while she was sitting at the table and nobody noticed until she got up to walk into the kitchen. —Kristin P. 


Brother-in-law thought he was just full. Turned out he had appendicitis. —Helen M. 


We planned our whole Thanksgiving around going to a particular restaurant three hours away, and when we got there it was closed. —Sara Z. 


During grace one year, the youngest at the table accidentally knocked over his water glass on his mother, who jumped up yelling, “What the f***?” While the rest of us were aghast, the child saying grace calmly ended with “Bless all the chickens.” We still laugh about it. —Beverly C.  


My grandmother (from the other side of the family) sneezed a pea out of her nose, and it landed in my mashed potatoes. The dog got a full plate of Thanksgiving food that year. —Beth R.

Which side dishes are most important? Who says the wrong thing at the table? See the answers to these questions and more at G&G’s Great Thanksgiving Reader Survey