We think Mary Emma Showalter would have loved this turkey-disaster story, coming as it did from a former unit hostess in a Mennonite Brethren Christian service program. We thank Joanie Buttercup for sending it, one of the few to send a “How I ruined the day – cooking disaster” story, in our year long (2015) special roll out of the 65th Anniversary Edition of Mennonite Community Cookbook!
One of my first holiday seasons away from family came in 1971, when my husband and I, still pretty much newlyweds, were on assignment with Mennonite Brethren Missions/Services “Christian Service” program, almost 4,000 miles from our California origins, in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.
Since we were living in what was known as the “unit house,” it fell to me to roast one of the turkeys for the Thanksgiving dinner for all of the Christian Service volunteers serving in the area.
Having only casually observed my mom’s method of preparing such a feast, I merrily prepared the stuffing, and put some of it inside the turkey. Since we would be a group of about 20 at dinner, I made extra stuffing, which I put into a bread loaf pan. I put it into the oven along with the turkey.
About two hours into turkey-roasting time, there was dark smoke coming from the oven. Why??? The turkey was nowhere near done yet!
I carefully opened the oven door, and very sheepishly withdrew a black brick—all that remained of my otherwise delicious sage-and-onion stuffing. Oh… (disappointed sigh!) …I guess the stuffing didn’t need as much time to bake as the turkey did.
Needless to say, there was not enough stuffing to go around that day. And it very quickly got me dubbed as a not-very-good cook.
I have not made that mistake twice. Nowadays, my stuffing goes into a slow cooker, and there is always enough to go with even the leftover turkey!
Joan adds, “These days, I stay away from white bread, including in my stuffing. I use good quality multi-grain bread for the stuffing. Yes, it’s a little more work than buying the pre-cut bread cubes in a box or a bag, but it’s a lot healthier and tastes sooo much better!”
–Joan Schmidt, Chilliwack British Columbia
If you’re looking for an awesome discount on this special edition of Mennonite Community Cookbook, its 30 % off between now and Christmas (making the book just a little over $17 US!) Here’s more info and a promo code to use, and additional discounts (and promo codes) for other selected books.
What is your favorite (best or worst) Thanksgiving memory or moment? We apologize to all our Canadian friends whose technical Thanksgiving holiday is long past; you are free to share yours too! Thanks! We’ll be happy to publish your story here!