COLUMN — My biggest Thanksgiving fails

Published 6:00 am Friday, November 27, 2020

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One Thanksgiving Day when I was a tiny kid, I was sitting in the kitchen watching my Mom and my Nana put the final touches on Thanksgiving dinner.

The two women were bouncing around the kitchen pulling casseroles out of ovens, gathering silverware and finishing up dishes.

After the turkey left the oven, these two lovely ladies began making the gravy. I watched them cook a mixture of the drippings and other ingredients in a pot on the stovetop.

As my Nana went to go tend to something else, my mother added some salt to the pot. She then left the room and Nana returned. I watched her add some salt to the pot. Nana left and Mom returned to the stove, stirring the gravy and adding another hefty dose of salt. She then left to set the table and Nana came back. I watched her heavily salt the gravy for a fourth time and said nothing.

Although back then I knew little of cooking, my tiny kid brain knew I probably should have said something to the two women clueless of the other’s seasoning of the gravy, but I just didn’t. Imagine the horror on my Nana and Mother’s faces as we all sat down for a nice Thanksgiving dinner and the gravy everyone had drowned their food in was 50% salt.

One year in college I signed up to help make Thanksgiving dinner for the students living in my residential dorm. I was put in charge of the macaroni and cheese, but I severely underestimated how much cheese is needed to make dozens of servings of macaroni. You have never felt embarrassment until you’ve walked into the university dining hall and filled two entire to-go containers with shredded cheddar cheese from the salad bar. And you’ve never seen anger until you saw the girl waiting behind me.

At last year’s Thanksgiving I was assigned to make my perfect, buttery bread rolls. The treats are a labor of love and take hours to make due to the three rounds of proofing required.

As the family gathered at my grandparents’ house for Thanksgiving, I was a tad distracted as I put the rolls in the oven. When it was time to take the rolls out, they emerged looking as if an ogre had sneezed all over them. That’s when I realized I had forgotten to take the plastic wrap off the top before putting them in the oven.

Trust me, you will never hear the end of it if you leave your family bread-less on Thanksgiving.

No matter the mishaps in the kitchen this year, let’s all be thankful that we are able to celebrate this wonderful holiday of indulgence and sharing, even if it’s just with immediate family. These memories are ones to treasure, even if you have overly salty gravy and no rolls to soak it up with.

What have been some of your biggest Thanksgiving dinner fails? I’d love to hear them. Perhaps they will make me feel better about my own holiday blunders.

Alexa Massey is a staff reporter for The Charlotte Gazette and Farmville Newsmedia LLC. Her email address is