Vivian’s Secret Turkey Gravy Recipe


vivian turkey gravy


By: Vivian Wilson

I love to laugh. There are reasons for laughter every day. Some days they are easier to see than others. I want to share a moment of hilarity with you that happened on Thanksgiving Day at my house. For some of you this may be a “well, I guess you had to be there” moment. But for others I hope you will get a good laugh and maybe a little encouragement knowing that you are not the only one who has had a “kitchen disaster”.

I don’t consider myself to be a “great” cook, but according to my children I do O.K. I love cooking for my family, so Thanksgiving dinner is a labor of love. And so it was last week. I had outdone myself, everything was on schedule. The turkey was “resting” in it’s cooking bag in the aluminum roasting pan on the cutting board. The electric knife was plugged in, the trash can was efficiently placed next to the island where Bob would be carving the turkey. Rolls were browning, marsh mellows were toasting nicely on the sweet potato casserole, potatoes were ready to be mashed, and the pan in which I would make the turkey gravy was on the stove awaiting the savory drippings from the turkey.

Bob and Wendy arrived first and were ready to help. Bob lifted the 24 pound turkey out of the pan. I took hold of the aluminum pan full of drippings in order to pour the content into the pan on the stove.

That’s when it happened, all in slow motion, but not. The juice began to slosh and the pan began to move in rhythm with the sloshing liquid.  (I now know why it is highly suggested that you make sure your hand is under the pan for support). The more I tried to steady the contents, the more it moved until it was spilling over the sides of the pan.

Did you know that turkey juice is very greasy and thus very slippery? It is. Both feet slipped out from under me at the same time. As I was going down all I could think about was my gravy.

As I sat on the floor, soaking up turkey juice with the seat of my pants, Bob and Wendy were concerned about broken bones, mine.

I was concerned about gravy. You can’t have turkey, dressing, and mashed potatoes without gravy! I looked up and there was the turkey pan, balanced on the top of the trash can, empty.

As they helped me to my feet I said out loud, “that’s a clean trash can bag, I just put it in there.”

It only had a couple of things in it: a wrapper from a stick of butter, and an empty french fried onion container. I looked at Bob, then Wendy.

They knew what I was thinking.

I said, “this will go to the grave with us,” and without a word, Bob picked up the trash can, took it to the stove, and poured the precious turkey drippings into the pan. We were laughing so hard that we were crying.

I made the gravy, didn’t burn anything in the oven, and changed clothes. Then one of my kids said after tasting the gravy on the stove, “Mom, this is the best gravy you’ve ever made.” I am not kidding!

That’s when Wendy and I lost it. Bob, Wendy and I had laughed so much during the salvage process that our faces hurt. But with every comment about the wonderful gravy we still couldn’t contain our laughter.

After dinner, when everyone was full and content, we told them the whole story. (It was too funny to keep to ourselves, so we all shared in the laughter, and they understood what the private joke had been.) Even as I write this, there is a huge smile on my face and even an occasional chuckle. This memory is a veritable wellspring of laughter and will be forever.

I’m not sure that there are any deep spiritual lessons here, but I know this: we shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously, and we shouldn’t be ashamed or afraid to be authentic. I’m probably the only person on the face of the planet that actually poured turkey drippings out of the trash can so I could make “real” turkey gravy. (At least I’m the only one crazy enough to admit it)!

So I would encourage you, in this world where there is so much that is serious and evil and not funny, look for opportunities during the day to laugh. Look for the humor in things. Laugh with others and laugh at yourself. It will affect your attitude in a good way.

Would anyone like to come to my house for dinner?

A work in progress,

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