The Year My Turkey Had Cancer!

Imagine if you will…I’m a young adult, hosting my very first Thanksgiving.  My whole family is en route to my home for Thanksgiving.  I am so excited; I can’t wait to roll out this traditional southern Thanksgiving dinner.  I just know Mom will be so proud of me.  You must understand my mom was one of the best cooks on the planet.  I can’t say she ever really taught her kids to cook…but somehow I picked up the skills.  And now…it was my turn to prove I could do it all.


As the preparations and cooking progressed it certainly smelled like Thanksgiving.  Having family there made it so special.  I made sure no one entered MY kitchen lest my surprise of being able to do it all on my own be spoiled.  Everyone kept remarking on how good it smelled and I was prouder with each passing moment.


I set the table with my best dishes, flowers, the works.  I asked Dad to do the honor of carving this absolutely golden brown turkey I had prepared…all on my own.


It was time.  Everyone gathered at the table.  We said grace and gave thanks.  It was time to carve the turkey.  Dad grabbed the fork in his left hand, the knife in his right, and began to slice…and the strangest expression appeared on his face.  I watched his curious concern develop, wondering about the cause.  Then, he leaned over to peer closely at the turkey…and looked up at me.  My heart started to pound; my mind spun.  I jumped up and ran over to him, looking at the turkey, in the very spot that had caused his dismay.  I gasped and said to myself, “The turkey has cancer.”  Then I looked up at everyone and screamed, “The turkey has cancer!”  I was mortified.  I thought, “We cannot eat a turkey with cancer; Thanksgiving is ruined!”  But everyone was laughing hysterically.  I felt as though I was on another planet.  I was already nervous about the turkey being edible, but to see this thick, grey matter growing in the chest of this otherwise perfect turkey?  “I’ve never seen a turkey with cancer,” I proclaimed and everyone’s laughter only got louder.


My mother leapt to my side to console me, while biting her lip to control her laughter.  With her most serious face she said to me, “Belanie, the turkey is fine, Sweetheart.  Those are the giblets.  You did not remove them from the turkey cavity; they have baked inside the turkey.  Your turkey does not have cancer.”


I was overwhelmed by this added level of embarrassment.  What’s worse, that I left the giblets in the turkey or that I am screaming that the turkey has cancer?  To this day I have never seen a turkey with cancer.  Is that even a thing?


Every Thanksgiving, as I remove the giblets from the cavity of the turkey, I hear the laughter of my family and smile in amazement at how fast the years have passed.  And I only have one regret.  I wish we had that moment on video because I am sure it would be a winner on American’s Funniest Home Videos.


  1. Joyce Brown on November 13, 2012 at 10:18 am

    What young cook cannot relate to this? I have done it, too!

    • Belanie Dishong on November 18, 2012 at 7:35 pm

      Hey Girlfriend, you and I could probably write a book on cooking blunders. One of my other best ones was my chicken and “dumpling”… dinner. I know you know this one. Just one big dumpling floating on top of the broth. Cut into it and it was like a wet loaf of bread. Oh those days of innocent attempts to cook like mom. Blessings coming your way for this Thanksgiving.

  2. Roseanne on November 13, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    How sweet a memory being able to think back and laugh with your family after the fact!

    • Belanie Dishong on November 18, 2012 at 7:32 pm

      Yes Roseanne, there isn’t anything greater than looking back at loving memories.

  3. Brian on November 13, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    One of the best ways to “ruin” a Thanksgiving! Very heartwarming, brought a smile to my face.

    • Belanie Dishong on November 18, 2012 at 7:31 pm

      Hey Brian, I certainly didn’t toss any of that turkey. We ate the bird right around the “giblets.”

  4. Marlene on November 13, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    That is funny! I would never do this because I don’t cook so I don’t have to worry about impressing anyone. Maybe scare but not impress. LOL!!

    • Belanie Dishong on November 18, 2012 at 7:30 pm

      Hey Girl, I plan to get you cooking someday. 🙂

  5. Mary on November 13, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    I remembered the giblets because I needed them for the dressing and gravy. However, I baked my turkey upside down, it was so fat and round I never noticed which direction the tail was pointing…your Dad would have had a terrible time carving the breast on that bird!

    • Belanie Dishong on November 18, 2012 at 7:29 pm

      Hey Mary, I laughed as I read you comment, why? Because my dad always cooked his turkey upside down / breast down…he said it made the breast more moist. It was awesome to hear that you did that as well. Again, another joyful reminder of family times, pleasant memories and love. May you have a blessed Thanksgiving. And thanks for taking time to make a comment.

Leave a Comment