(This is from November, 2004)
My fiance and I had Thanksgiving dinner at my mother's home this year, with the rest of my family. My mother is an excellent cook and has prepared many wonderful holiday dinners throughout the years. This year was no exception.
Wednesday afternoon I was home as Mom placed the frozen turkey in the sink to began preparations to cook it. At one point as I was walking through the kitchen, I heard her say that something was missing.
I don't know anything about cooking turkeys.
I looked at the turkey in the sink. Mom had removed two packages from inside, which I assumed to be giblets and something else, a liver maybe, since it was dark. My mother and I then had the following exchange:
Mom: Doesn't it look like it is missing something?
Me: Um, the head? I hear they usually get rid of it before they sell them.
Mom: I mean from the inside. There should be something else.
Me: I don't know what's normally inside a turkey.
Mom: It's male parts, it's missing it's male parts.
Mom: The male parts of the turkey aren't inside like they usually are.
Me: (Just now understanding what she is talking about) I'm never eating turkey again...
As I said before, I know nothing about cooking turkeys. I can identify the parts of the turkey after it is cooked, but I have no idea how it is packaged. So I did a little research and found that when you buy a turkey, there is supposed to be a package inside it that contains the giblets and the liver, and also the turkey neck. For all I knew before, I thought the neck was still attached and you just cut it off when you prepared the bird. I don't even know what the point of including the neck is.
Then it hit me.
My mother, who later told me that she has been cooking turkeys for over 40 years, thought that the neck that is normally included inside the turkey was instead, um, "something else."
That something else being what puts the "Tom" in turkey.
Upon further questioning, my mother, being the sport that she is, freely admitted that she has always thought that the turkey neck was not a neck.
This explains why the neck has never been part of a holiday meal in her house.
And why I will never not laugh at the sight of a turkey, live or dead, cooked or uncooked, again.