When Turkeys Strike Back

Hi Folks! We had a crime writer’s interview scheduled for today that was postponed, so K.B. Owen dug into the archives of her blog and came up with this fun gem: When Turkeys Strike Back 😀

by K.B. Owen

Meet Tom Turkey, the star of the Thanksgiving meal. The poor fella’s often maligned for his stupidity, but the people trying to cook him aren’t always the sharpest knives in the carving block either. In some ways, it’s a form of revenge. Fear the turkey!

Turkeys, humans, and fire


Sometimes turkeys strike back…with fire.

There are almost as many ways to cook a turkey as there are lame jokes in Uncle Harold’s repertoire, right? Bake, broil, brine, deep-fry, spatch-cock….

In other words, lots of potential for messing up the centerpiece of the meal so that dad has to run out to the 7-Eleven for a pack of hot dogs.

Since 1981, Butterball has operated a telephone helpline on Thanksgiving, with real people to talk to when all hell’s breaking loose. (Turkey-wise, that is. They can’t do anything about the heavy-metal boyfriend your daughter brought home, or the passive-aggressive brother-in-law you have to deal with every year).

Speaking of spatchcock, I gave it a go one year. I think we needed a bigger pan. Looks a bit lewd…

The Butterball folks get some crazy questions from callers: how to clean out chainsaw oil residue after trying to cut a frozen turkey in half (nope…go get hot dogs), how long it takes to pop popcorn inside the turkey’s cavity while the bird is roasting (an old myth – and you can’t), whether a frozen turkey can be thawed with a hair dryer (Lord, no), how to get a chihuahua unstuck from inside a turkey (before it went in the oven, thankfully)…the list goes on.

And then there are the fires. According to State Farm Insurance Company, more cooking fires happen on Thanksgiving Day than any other day of the year. Most occur when folks decide it’s a good idea to submerge a 20-pound turkey in a vat of boiling oil. (If you fry your turkey, don’t send me hate mail. I’m sure there’s a safe way to do it, but I watched too many turkey-fryer disaster videos while preparing this post).

State Farm compiled cooking-fire data between 2007 and 2011 to come up with a Top 10 list of states that have had the most fires on Thanksgiving, based on number of claims.

Want to see the list? Me, too.

Top 10 States Most Likely to Bring Firefighters to Your Door on Thanksgiving:firetruck

#10 South Carolina

#9 Minnesota

#8 Pennsylvania

#7 Louisiana

#6 California

#5 Florida

#4 Ohio

#3 New York

#2 Illinois

…and the #1 state for the most turkey fires:



Source: http://www.propertycasualty360.com/2012/11/21/top-10-us-states-for-turkey-fryer-fires

What do you think of this list? Any states that surprised you? Any you’d like to nominate?

So this Thanksgiving, count yourself lucky to successfully cook your bird without the help of your local fire department! Here’s a humorous video by William Shatner (in conjunction with State Farm Insurance Co) about the dangers of turkey fryers:



How do you like to cook your turkey? Has the fire department ever paid you a visit on Thanksgiving? I’d love to hear from you.

Best wishes for a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!


K.B. Owen signing books at Prospero’s Books (Manassas, VA)

K.B. Owen taught college English for nearly two decades at universities in Connecticut and Washington, DC, and holds a doctorate in 19th century British literature.

A mystery lover ever since she can remember, she drew upon her teaching experiences in creating her amateur sleuth, Professor Concordia Wells…and from that series came lady Pinkerton Penelope Hamilton.

There are now six books in the Concordia Wells mystery series thus far, and three novellas in the Penelope Hamilton series.

We blog here at misterio press about twice a month, usually on Tuesdays. Sometimes we talk about serious topics, and sometimes we just have some fun.

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  • Reply
    Shannon Esposito
    November 13, 2018 at 11:56 am

    OMG… a chihuahua?! Seriously??? *dying* Thanks for the laugh this morning! Why is cooking a turkey so darn hard? This year, we’re hosting Thanksgiving but I’m leaving the turkey cooking to Publix. I don’t have the energy to fight the bird. (Or the fire!)

    • Reply
      K.B. Owen
      November 13, 2018 at 12:00 pm

      That sounds like a great way to go, Shannon! Good luck and enjoy your holiday!

  • Reply
    Kassandra Lamb
    November 13, 2018 at 12:32 pm

    I’m seriously considering doing the same, Shannon. Loved this post, Kathy. Laughed out loud!!

    • Reply
      K.B. Owen
      November 13, 2018 at 12:36 pm

      Truth is stranger than fiction, as they say! Thanks, Kass!

  • Reply
    Vinnie Hansen
    November 13, 2018 at 2:39 pm

    Guilty. Danny and I once set our turkey on fire. We weren’t deep-frying, though. Our mistake was using olive oil to coat it and then putting the turkey on the Weber. Apparently, you’re not supposed to do that. 🙂 Even though we charred the exterior and dropped the turkey in our panic, it still tasted good. Wouldn’t you know that that was one of the few Thanksgivings where we had company!

    • Reply
      K.B. Owen
      November 13, 2018 at 3:52 pm

      OMG, Vinnie! It’s amazing that you decided to still eat it, LOL! Hope this year’s goes smoothly. 😉

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