Turkey troubles: Survey reveals the most common ‘Thanksgiving fails’ each year

NEW YORK — Thanksgiving is supposed to be a time to connect with loved ones, eat some great food, and reflect on our blessings. Often times, though, the hectic nature of preparing for the holiday can lead to more than one mistake, calamity, or embarrassing moment. In fact, a 2019 survey of 2,000 Americans found that the average household will see six holiday tasks go wrong.

More than half of respondents (56%) say that the turkey is usually a prime source of problems, admitting that cooking it correctly is one of the hardest parts of hosting a Thanksgiving dinner.

The survey, commissioned by Omaha Steaks, identified as many as 20 common Thanksgiving mishaps, and simply running out of time while preparing dinner was the number one “fail” listed by respondents (31%). After that, not all of the food being ready to eat at the same time was the second most common response (29%), followed by running out of wine (28%), dropping a dish on the floor (28%), and forgetting an important ingredient in one of the main dishes (28%).

The top 10 Thanksgiving “fails” were rounded out with: dishes being cold by the time they reach the table (27%), not everyone getting a chance to try a certain dish (27%), food being cooked incorrectly (27%), a host forgetting about a guest’s food allergy (26%), and a burnt turkey (25%).

Respondents were also asked to recount their own personal worst Thanksgiving mishaps. Among some of the most memorable responses was a person who remembered a year the food served at Thanksgiving was so poor that everyone stopped eating after taking just one bite. Other humorous memories included a respondent who set out to host a Thanksgiving dinner party, but forgot to send out invitations. Another recalled their turkey being stolen — straight from the dinner table!

A running theme throughout all of these problems is the preparation and serving of food. So, perhaps it isn’t so surprising that nearly 76% of respondents say they would actually enjoy Thanksgiving a whole lot more if they didn’t have to cook. For reference on just how time consuming a Thanksgiving meal can be, 31% say they usually spend four to five hours simply grocery shopping for the big meal, and another four to five hours in the kitchen preparing everything.

Besides the top 10 responses, other common Thanksgiving “fails” listed by respondents were: dry turkey (25%), not enough chairs for guests (25%), odd tasting food (25%), undercooked turkey (25%), and no cranberry sauce (25%).

Judging from the survey’s results, it’s clear that Thanksgiving is often hectic, and rarely goes exactly as planned. Ironically, in many cases these mistakes are the catalysts that help create memorable holiday moments.

The survey was conducted by OnePoll.

This article was originally posted on November 28, 2019.

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