When Christmas goes wrong - from upside down turkeys to blowing the oven door off
PUBLISHED: 18:00 22 December 2014 | UPDATED: 15:29 30 December 2014
It is the one day of the year when families truly unite, when every dining table in the country is decluttered so everyone can share the feast - but Christmas dinner is not always the happy family affair we hope for. This week readers have been sharing their Christmas dinner disaster stories, and offering tips on what not to do this yuletide.
Explosive times at the Elliott’s
Forgetting to turn the oven on was a costly mistake for Marie Elliott.
Her daughter, Nicola Street, said: “About 40 years ago mum forgot to put the turkey on (she used to cook it slowly all night) so she rushed out of bed at 4am to put it on.
“She turned up the gas a bit higher than usual and went back to bed. Then at 7am, just as we were being allowed up to do stockings, there was a huge bang followed by a crash. Mum and dad raced down stairs to find the turkey had somehow exploded in the oven, to this day we have no idea how.
“The force of the explosion blew off the oven door. We had sausage and mash for Christmas dinner that day cooked on the camping stove, ever resourceful my mum.
“She doesn’t remember that now sadly but we talked about it for years after.”
Turkey was a right dogs dinner!
Chloe Chaplin, of Witham, shared a disaster from her childhood, the mum-of-two said: “My aunt and uncle’s Alsatian stole the raw turkey off of the side of the worktop and ate the lot – bones and all. They had no turkey for dinner that year and the dog spent the whole day being sick!”
Upside down delight
When family life took a turn for the worse, Rebecca Robson, from West Bergholt, took the bull by the horns and stepped up to the challenge of cooking Christmas dinner.
“When I was 18 my parents were going through a divorce and it was the first Christmas with just me, my brother and dad.
“I was determined we’d have a great time and have all the trimmings and all the little details my mum always took care of. So, Christmas Eve afternoon I got the huge turkey all prepped and took extra care layering streaky bacon on top and seasoning it.
“Several hours later I had a cooked, beautifully golden turkey and took great pleasure as I went to carve it for our traditional Christmas Eve tea...until I hit bone and wondered where all the meat was. I’d cooked the stupid thing upside down!”
Drinking before dinner is never
Mum-of-twins Anne Francies from Essex said: “I remember the year my sister in law and I had a few sherbets while waiting for the 18lb turkey to cook. We took it out to baste it and then watched it roll along the kitchen floor towards their dog. Even today my brother has no idea why we insisted that he had the first breast!”
And it turns out this is a tradition that runs in the family. Anne, of Chelmsford, said: “One year my parents took us to a ‘rather good’ party on Christmas Eve. My poor brother is still recovering 35 years on from finding a Barbie and pink nightie in his stocking.”
Take the giblets out
Claire Rayner, from Chelmsford, is mum to Lauren, 15, and Thomas, four, she said: “There have been a couple of a Christmas dinner mishaps while I’ve been learning how to cook! I left the giblets in the turkey one year, then the following year I didn’t have enough space in my oven and thought there would be no harm in putting the tray with the pigs in blankets in on the bottom of the oven. Wrong. It turns out the racks are there for a reason!”
Turkey was tender
Feature writer Charlotte Smith-Jarvis, of Hadleigh, said: “I read somewhere that it might be a good idea to put a little water in with your turkey to ensure it remains moist. I dutifully told my mum, who cooks Christmas lunch every year, and she accepted the advice gratefully, looking forward to serving a more succulent bird that year.
“When I rocked up to make the gravy, mum took her tools to move the turkey from the pan and it promptly collapsed midair into a car crash of bones and meat that had little resemblance to the majestic table centrepiece we were used to. It did taste amazing though.”
Trip to A&E
“I poisoned my mother-in-law the first time I cooked her a veggie Christmas dinner,” said mum-of-one Carol Lapham.
“At least that’s what she told the hospital and ambulance staff when she passed out after putting a Brussels sprout in her mouth!
“I think it was more to do with the fact she hadn’t eaten breakfast to save room for dinner – hospital staff were having a good laugh at us though”
Embarrassment started in the supermarket
Dunstan Dowling, of Ipswich, thought a comedy apron was just the thing for preparing his Christmas dinner, how wrong he was.
“I work at a supermarket and saw an apron of a muscly naked man on it. I had always wanted one as a laugh since I saw it on Big Brother but I didn’t want to go to the till as they would wonder why I was buying that.
“So I went to the self scan check out, only for it to ask for ID as it had a bottle of Carlsberg inside the box as well.
“Guess what? The hottest girl there came over to approve it for me and saw....I was very embarrassed.”