This blog is now sugar FREE, fat FREE, gluten FREE, all ORGANIC and all NATURAL!!

Monday, December 29, 2014

THE TURKEY CARCASS - a cranky re-run

This re-run is from December 2013 

A recent post from that fine blogger, one Chubby Chatterbox, inspired this post. *

My mother shared the same turkey saving depression era habits as did the Chatterbox’s mom.  Our holiday birds were never wasted.  They lasted for weeks.  Every part of that bird was used including the neck (yuck!) the heart (what the hell makes giblets?) and even the gizzard.  In fact the gizzard was much prized and fought over by my brothers Jim and Chris.  I might have also liked the gizzard and joined in on the battle, except Chris made it very clear that I did not like gizzard.  I thought I did, but he was probably right.


After the main meal, the turkey was the source of sandwiches for two to three days.  When sandwiches were over, the carcass was turned to soup.  It was boiled until every last flake of turkey joined the watery broth that the boiled carcass provided.  Into the watery turkey flaked broth went celery, carrots and rice.  Into that mixture went more rice and then even more rice.

My mother raved about her turkey soup.  To her it was the best part of the holiday.  The turkey soup lasted several weeks.  We had turkey soup for almost every dinner and many lunches.  By the time we finished the Thanksgiving turkey soup, the Christmas bird was about ready to be turned into even more soup.

I hated turkey soup.  I still hate turkey soup.

The mother of three of my children always planned on making turkey soup.  As long as there was meat on the carcass she kept it in the kitchen covered with a damp towel until it was ready to be turned into soup.  Her ambition was always greater than her action.  She never made soup from the carcass.  I never complained.  I hate turkey soup.  It did bother the heck out of me that our small refrigerator was shrunk even more because we had to save that damn carcass for weeks until it was finally decided that it was too old for soup.

When my children’s mom left for a better spousal opportunity, I began a new tradition that lived beyond my second wife and still exists in todays era of Mrs. Cranky. 

I call it the traditional tossing of the carcass.

When our holiday dinner is over, I carve off all the white meat and place it in a Tupperware container for future sandwiches.  I then carve up all the dark meat and place it in a separate Tupperware container also for future sandwiches. Finally when the carcass is picked reasonably clean of potential sandwich filling, I announce with much fanfare the tossing of the carcass.

I grab a son to hold open a garbage bag. 

“We thank you O bird for a delicious meal and for many delicious sandwiches to come.  To appease the God of the great bird, we sacrifice the soup making carcass.”

With that, the carcass is dropped into the bag.  The bag is sealed and immediately thrown into the can in the garage. The room in the refrigerator that the carcass does not occupy is reserved for multiple pies.

I hate turkey soup.

I love pie. 
*Perhaps Stephen will supply the specific site in a comment.     


  1. A raised turkey, ham and egg pie is always made in our house in January. Not by me, I hasten to add, as cooking is not my forte.

  2. I don't make soup either. I don't hate turkey soup, but I'm not going to work that hard. In fact when the holiday meal is over I can stand one more leftover dinner and then let's move on. Eating that meal for weeks is just not going to happen here.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

  3. My mother always calls me wasteful for not using the carcass to make delicious turkey soup. I tell her I'm on my way to her place with the carcass so SHE can make this delicious soup. She tells me she won't be answering her door.

  4. We make turkey soup, but not for eating. We put the soup in the freezer to use as a base for gravy the next time we have turkey. We've been doing that for years. It makes an unbelievably rich gravy!!

  5. too funny. the couple of times we've had a turkey carcass to toss, we toss it into the pond. the turtles and fish dine quite well on pickings and bones. :)

  6. I feel your pain. My Dad was a huge turkey bone soup maker and like you, I did not like it. Thus I found friends houses to have dinner with for a couple of days.

  7. I hate turkey soup, and my mother never made it.

  8. That's the very best thing to do with the carcass.
    I do the same with chicken. I used to make soup from the carcass until I discovered that soup made from a whole chicken is much nicer and gives plenty of cooked meat for salads and sandwiches. Some can even be put back into the soup.

  9. You've answered a question I've wondered about for a long time. In my family, we always covered the carcass with a damp towel. I do that, also, when we have a carcass for a while (like you, though, I tend to carve it up quickly; the same night or, at latest, the next morning.) I didn't know if the wet towel was just something the Sullivans had come up with or whether it was fairly common practice. Now I know at least one other who does it, so I'm going with "common practice".

    I tried making turkey soup ONCE. After boiling the carcass, the water/broth was so nasty and greasy I couldn't possibly imagine it becoming something I'd like with the addition of anything else, so rather than waste a whole bunch of vegetables, I just chucked it. I'm positive it was the right decision.

  10. I'd forgotten about the wet towel.
    Aluminum foil replaced it, then plastic storage bags.
    I like turkey soup, but with barley, rather than rice, and, then, only for a day or so.

    If I had to choose, I'd take pie first.

  11. I love turkey soup, and I make a ton of it after the turkey has been eaten (the carcass has been put in the freezer during that time). I put tons of vegetables in it and eat it for lunches at work.

    Don't get me wrong...I like pie, too.

  12. A point about the damp towel. used to cover cold cooked meats to prevent drying out, but it should be wrung out with vinegar added to the water. Vinegar helps to prevent bacteria growing in the meat so it is safer to eat for longer. But still be careful, don't keep it too long. The damp towel should be replaced daily with a fresh one.