There’s a lot to love about Thanksgiving, but it can also be a stressful time. From cooking disasters to awkward family encounters, there’s potential trouble at every turn. In fact, here are 15 mistakes you’ll probably make this Thanksgiving. But if the holiday season is already raising your blood pressure, perhaps these stories of snafus past (and the people who made it out of them) will help you put it all in perspective:
A literal meltdown
Several years into our marriage, I hosted our first Thanksgiving dinner. I ran the dishwasher overnight, but it malfunctioned. On Thanksgiving morning I discovered that my plastic-handled flatware had melted into what looked like a display at the Museum of Modern Art. Luckily, the local housewares store was open. I bought replacements and ultimately did serve Thanksgiving dinner—albeit two hours late—but it was years before I hosted another major family gathering. —Submitted by Michele Harber of Forest Hills, New York.
Thanksgiving was at my aunt’s house and I had promised to bring two pies—but not my new puppy. (Slugger was six months old.) Determined to impress, I baked a magnificent pumpkin pie with delicate pastry leaves embellishing the crust, and a blueberry one with a buttery woven lattice. I triple wrapped the pies in foil and headed out for a run. I returned home to find half-eaten pies—and a purple puppy. —Submitted by Tina Koenig of Hollywood, Florida.
Mind the gap
While we drove through South Carolina to visit my family for Thanksgiving, our Brooklynite friend was full of questions. He studied the passing landscape with a worried look. “How’s the economy down here? I see some areas built up, but there are these long gaps between them.” My brother, a Southern gentleman, thought a moment then answered, “Down here, we call those ‘gaps’ farms.” —Submitted by Rose Gilbert of Maplewood, New Jersey.
When two heads aren’t better than one
Days before my wife and I got married, I was invited to my future in-laws for Thanksgiving dinner. We all brought something, and I volunteered to bring a Caesar salad. I called a restaurant, and they actually gave me their recipe. It called for 5 cloves of garlic but, at the time, I didn’t know the difference between a clove of garlic and the entire head. I’ll never forget the look on my future father-in-law’s face when he tried to eat that “thing” I created. “Wow…that’s tart!” he said. —Submitted by John Certuse of Attleboro, Massachusetts.
Off the table
On Thanksgiving one year, I was racing home from work because I had several guests coming over for dinner. The only thing I still needed was a centerpiece for the table. I wanted a decorative squash, so I rushed to my local store and hunted for them until I saw the store manager. Flustered and out of breath, I yelled, “Are you out of your gourds?” to which he replied, “Why, what did we do this time?!” —Submitted by Jill Brooks of Bountiful, Utah.
All meat and no potatoes
It was Thanksgiving and preparation was in full swing. Suddenly the power went out. I went downstairs to reset the circuit. I heard murmurs as I went back up to the kitchen. There stood my mother-in-law (who had the job of mashing the potatoes) holding the electric beater like a pistol. Bullets of mashed potatoes decorated the walls of the kitchen. An hour later we sat down to Thanksgiving dinner—with fewer mashed potatoes than usual. —Submitted by Marjorie Beall of Peoria, Illinois.
A hair out of place
I kept seeing ads for “the new, younger you,” so I went for a new hair consult. They shave your head, except for the sides, and sew in a weave to lock in the hairpiece. When I got home, my own dog wouldn’t let me in! Then I went to visit family at Thanksgiving. But when I walked up to my parents and brothers at the airport and went to hug my mom, she backed off and said, “Can I help you?” (The new me only lasted a year.) —Submitted by Steve Morgese of McHenry, Illinois.