For some ridiculous reason, there’s always a story that comes out of holiday gatherings at my house, usually the result of a guest at our table.
This year was no exception. And every word is true.
I have a very dear friend, who’s been at my dinner table a number of times, but this was his first Thanksgiving with us.
In addition to all of the cooking I do for others, I also make a complete turkey dinner (a basic mirror of ours) for the men and women who have to work on the holiday at the TV station where my television program is broadcast. It’s the least I can do for them because they make me look so good. (They get Christmas dinner from me, too.)
Anyway, back to this guy. We asked our guests to come about an hour and a half before dinner so that we could have a drink and socialize a bit before sitting down to the massive feast this holiday demands.
Our tradition is to serve turducken as the main course and if you aren’t familiar with that, it’s a Cajun specialty that is a completely deboned chicken, stuffed inside a completely deboned duck, stuffed inside a mostly deboned turkey. They leave the turkey drumsticks and wings. In between the birds and in the chicken cavity is a stuffing – either a Cajun sausage with cornbread stuffing or Creole seafood stuffing with rice. (I buy this and have it shipped to me because even though I know how to debone poultry, I’d rather let someone else do this task!)
The three-bird combination yields some tasty drippings which, in turn, gives me the makings for one fine gravy, because we also serve a combo dish I call marbled mashed potatoes, combining Russets and sweet potatoes; an apple and sausage cornbread stuffing, plus the meat – so there’s plenty of food on the plate that is appropriate for gravy.
As we sat down to the table and began bringing the various dishes around to serve to our guests, my friend’s wife quietly warned my wife not to let my friend have the gravy pitcher until everyone else at the table had it. My wife thought that was a strange thing to say and when she told me, I thought the same thing, but let it pass.
Well, we found out why she gave us not a hint, but a warning. My friend didn’t get the pitcher last, and for some unknown reason, he was the third person out of eight to get the gravy pitcher and he poured the entire contents onto his plate! I estimate that to be about a pint and a quarter of gravy.
“Are you kidding me?” I barked (and I confess I added an expletive or two).
My friend’s wife responded, “I told you so. He did this at my mother’s last year and he hasn’t lived it down since.” There was a stunned silence at the table and a goofy look on my friend’s face. The lighting was dimmed for dinner so I couldn’t see if there was any sign of embarrassment.
“Hey. What can I tell you? I love gravy,” was his response.
“And what about the rest of us?” I asked. He shrugged his shoulders. His wife then added, “If he’s ever invited back, you can just make up some of that powdered gravy mix and give it to him. He wouldn’t know the difference.”
I’ve shared this story with my hundreds of facebook friends around the world and they reacted as I’m sure you are reacting now as you read this.
One of my guests, who probably ought to be in the diplomatic corps, said: “Well, Jim, at least your turducken, and extra stuffing are moist and tender just as they are. And I guess if you wouldn’t mind, I’ll just put a little butter on my potatoes.”
Guess who’s not getting invited back next year?
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