Dear Ms. Meniscus:

It’s almost Thanksgiving and I’m dreading the turkey-carving scene, or I should say the testosterone display that accompanies it. My husband, his brother, and my brother go through this macho ritual each year about who is going to cut the turkey. Two of them wind up sulking while the one who cuts the bird gloats all through dinner. Two new things this year though: my 15-year-old daughter and my 14-year-old son have announced that they are entering the competition to cut the turkey, and, there isn’t one of these people who can do a decent job of it. One year my brother managed to knock the turkey off the table while cutting it.

I’m about to scream. It ruins my dinner every year when they argue about who’s going to wield the knife. I’m about to turn the carving set on them.

What should I do?

A chicken about confronting the turkey trouble.

Dear Chicken,

As if the testosterone-driven need for the men to carve the turkey on Thanksgiving wasn’t bad enough, the ritual carving usually tends to be done badly.  A perfectly cooked turkey can be severely hacked up, resulting in it being served in chunks and pieces.  There are a couple solutions you can implement this holiday to help this problem.

If you are not particularly fond of traditions, then you might consider buying a pre-sliced, spiral ham this year.  Although this might be the simplest of the solutions, an uproar caused by guests as a result of not having a turkey as the table’s centerpieces might be something to consider.

If you’re feeling more inventive, you might consider having a carve-off.

Of course you could also implement a rule that the person that cooks the turkey gets to carve the turkey.  You might consider having your own spare turkey on hand in case this plan goes up in smoke though. The “carve off” involves gathering all would-be carvers to join you in the kitchen to prove who has the skills needed to subsequently earn the final honors.  Use them for whatever extra chopping and slicing you need done.  Perfectly sliced, out-of-a-can cranberry sauce? Sure!  No one would ever question a couple of badly cut potatoes or carrots.

Finally, sometimes you have to do what is best for everyone – the whole, and if everyone’s Thanksgiving dinner is being ruined by this ritual, then you might have to take things into your own hands.  Turn on the football game to lure the men out of the kitchen and carve the turkey yourself. Once they wander back at half-time –

Surprise! Let’s eat.

Happy Thanksgiving.


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