Everyone’s family is unique. There is nothing more that highlights our own household spirit than celebrating together, most especially Thanksgiving Day. We share stories about families on Thanksgiving – from the good, the bad, and the ugly. Joining us to share his own Thanksgiving tradition is Wayne Harvey from the TV5 News team in Maine. We get into our own different family traditions and share different recipes while embracing the spirit of gratitude that brings us together to remind ourselves the good things we have in life.
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The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly Of Thanksgiving Traditions with Wayne Harvey
I’m glad you decided to join me again for another great show. Before I start going into this episode, I always give you this rundown of what’s happening, real-life scenarios that happen to me every single day. I’m excited to share those with you. I was traveling to Boston for work. I travel a lot for work, going back and forth. I bought a pair of nice black leather boots and you buy them at the end of the season. They stay in your box and you pack them up until the following season. Up in Boston, it’s nice and cold. I won’t say nice and cold because it was freezing. I left here, it was 86 degrees. I get there, it’s in the 30s. That’s not that fun for a girl from Florida. I don’t love the cold. That’s why I moved here from New York. I bought these boots, they were packed up and I figured, “This is a perfect time. Pack them, let’s go. We can wear them in the cold in Boston.” I grabbed the boots and packed them in my suitcase. I didn’t try them on. I didn’t look at them, nothing.
Those were the only work shoes that I packed. I’m getting ready for work and when I put on my brand spanking new boots, you can’t even imagine what I saw. The leather on the boots was peeling off. These boots sat in a box for six months. They’re brand new and they’re ruined. Now I’m pissed. First of all, I’m more than pissed because I didn’t bring anything else to wear. I had to wear a suit with UGGs to work for two days because it was a two-day program. My client luckily can take a joke. I showed them what happened. I’m like, “I can’t wear these because I want to return them.” I put on the UGGs and they were like, “No worries, Carolyn, you’re fine.” I came back home and I’m thinking, where did I buy these boots? That year I was living in Orlando, so I knew I had to buy them in Orlando.
I looked at the box and the box said Bakers on them. I’m like, “Bakers Shoes. Go to Bakers Shoes.” I went online to find Bakers Shoes only to find out that all their stores were closed. They went out of business. They sell boots in other stores. I went to DSW, one of the stores here. Of course, they would not return the boots because they said I didn’t buy them there. I’m pissed because I have these brand new boots that are ripped to smithereens. I’ve never worn them and I’m screwed out of $150 so I’m not that happy. When you go online to BakersShoes.com where you’re supposed to go and it says, “Here’s our email address. If you have any problems, just go to Service at BakersShoes.com,” the email came back undeliverable twice. I have a feeling that I am not going to be getting my money back for those boots but live and learn. I probably should have worn them right as soon as I got them. I don’t know if you guys do this, but sometimes I buy something new and then I wait until the old one gets really ready to throw out before I wear in the new stuff. I don’t know why I do that, but sometimes I do.
I think I’m going to have to rethink that decision. It’s not too fabulous. The moral of the story is when you buy something, you should use it. Don’t save it. Why are we saving stuff? I’m talking to myself here because this is what I do. Fantasy football. I don’t know how many of you out there do fantasy football, but I love fantasy football. I’ve been doing it for a few years now. It’s this family thing. The other thing is, not that I’m not a football fan, but I don’t know all the football players. I don’t know if you know the football players inside and out. When we do a draft and I make my picks, I make my picks based on the info that the app tells me. It gives you the research, whatever they tell you is the best next player to pick. That’s how I make my decisions. I don’t do a lot of research ahead of time. I might be at a disadvantage but that’s the way I do it. That’s the way I like it.
I didn’t know who I wanted to put in. I had two good quarterbacks. I threw it out on Twitter and on Instagram, “Guys, what do you think?” They all told me to put in the Steelers’ quarterback and I was like, “I don’t know. I think I want to put in Cam Newton, South Carolina.” I put in Ben and Cam Newton scored more points because that’s what happens every time I don’t follow my gut. Who was it on Survivor season that said, “I just follow my gut?” It was Kellyn. From now on, a good strategy is to follow your gut. We talked about Survivor because I had the Queen of Survivor on the show, Sandra Diaz-Twine. She is the only two-time winner after 37 seasons. That’s pretty damn impressive if you think about it. Therefore, she holds the title Queen of Survivor, even though we don’t know who won this season. We know it’s not going to be a two-time winner because it’s a brand new season.
She is the only two-time winner, very impressive. I mentioned this before but out of 36 seasons, there have been 21 male winners and fifteen female winners. It’s only fourteen people but fifteen female winners of those seasons. I don’t understand why the males are winning us by those six seasons. Females, we got a bone to pick and we need to fix this. We need to get some more female winners. Sometimes females, if they’re straight forward and they’re focused, they can be considered a bitch. That doesn’t happen to men. Women, we’ve got to change this. We deal with it every day. We’re going to change it. You just got to connect with people. That’s what it’s all about. This episode is all about families. We’re talking about Thanksgiving. We are going to be talking about some of those family traditions that were used to, some of the good, the bad and the ugly.
Thanksgiving Day is a celebration. It’s where people get together. They share their gratitude. It’s focused on sharing how grateful you are for all those good things in life that you have. Sometimes we don’t realize all the good things that we have. That’s why we take a step back and we think through the year in its fullest. We think through our families. We think through all the things in life and that’s what Thanksgiving is all about. There are so many stories and memories that are created on Thanksgiving Day. This is one of my favorite stories that I love to tell. You know how when you’re little and you go to your grandmother’s house or your aunt’s house or wherever you go for Thanksgiving. When you’re little, you just watch all the elders in the kitchen. They each have a job. They each know what to do because it’s part of Thanksgiving Day and bringing the family together. This one is cooking this thing and that one is cooking that thing. Everyone comes to the house and fits perfectly in their role and they’ve been doing this same thing year after year.
At some point, those traditions are passed down to the next generation. They, in turn, follow the same patterns as their elders. That’s what they’ve grown up with. That’s what they know. That’s what they’ve learned and therefore it becomes part of their tradition with their family. That’s how it’s passed down. On this Thanksgiving, the elders were now watching that younger generation where some of that transition happens. When older people say, “It’s your turn. Take the day. The kitchen is all yours,” they’re sitting there and they’re watching. They sat in the kitchen and they watched the magic happen, proud as they were because their tradition was kept together. The next year, the same thing happened. As the elders were watching the meal preparation, they did wonder about one thing that they saw. The turkey was on the counter and they began to cut the turkey into pieces. Instead of just putting the entire turkey as a whole in the pan, they cut it up. They did this for years. The meal was good as it had always been. This new generation took what they learned from their family and continued that tradition.
One of the elder aunts didn’t understand why the turkey was cut into these smaller pieces and placed in this big pan. She decided to ask her niece and the answer was this, “I’m doing exactly what you have taught me to do. I’ve been following your recipe for years.” The aunt responded by saying, “My dear child, the reason why we cut the turkey into smaller pieces was that back in the day, the ovens were much smaller. That was the only way that we could fit the entire turkey into the oven. It has nothing to do with the recipe.” They all laughed. I love that story because we do what’s comfortable for us. We do what we see and how we learn. We follow what we were taught. Sometimes we don’t even ask why we’re doing it a certain way. We may not ask the questions as to why things are done that way. Why did they cut the turkey? We may believe that they are done this way because that’s the way it’s supposed to be.
If we deviate from the plan in any way, the outcome will be changed. Maybe they thought the smaller pieces would be richer with flavor. We don’t always understand why and that doesn’t even matter. We watch and we learn. What do you take away from that? What should we do differently? Should we change our mindset and be more curious? Remember that child that always asks why? At some point, you say to yourself, “Stop asking why.” There is a point in time somewhere along the way where we stop asking why. We don’t even know how that happens or why that happens, but it just happens. Do we need to understand the whys? We think to ourselves, is it important to understand the why? I don’t know. In this story, it’s clear that asking why would help the outcome. It would make the process better and it would still not change the tradition. What can we learn from this? How does this link to everyday life? This is a true life lesson because it can be applied to anything we do. We all love tradition and I’m in no way saying change that. We need to understand why. Ask the why to see maybe you can make things a bit easier.
At Thanksgiving time, that’s when we bring out all our traditions. Think about some of the traditions that you have with your family. Do you cut your turkey into pieces? I suspect not, but there are probably so many other things that you do to preserve your family tradition. We don’t make a lot of turkeys in our house because we have typically gone to other people’s places over the years. We’ve probably done maybe four or five over the years because we’ve been out of town or family wasn’t close by. It was just our small family. I remember my husband reading some Thanksgiving Day traditions and one of the ones that stuck with him and stuck with us was one where you actually set a table for those people who are not here with you. It could be people that are in the military. It could be people that have passed on, whatever the case is. It’s there to let them know and to let all of us know that our hearts and our minds are still thinking with them. There’s one other family tradition that I love to share with you. We’ve not done it, but it may be something that I add to the list. This is about a family that uses a tablecloth and they use the same tablecloth every year.
What they do is wherever you are sitting at the table, you have to write down what you’re grateful for. Then the next year when they switched the seats and they move things around, you get to read who sat in your seat the previous year and then what they were grateful for. You do this over and over again. This one woman talked about how she did this for 30 years and how when one of the kids grew up and finally sat at that table, saw what his mom actually wrote about him when he was born. It was pretty exciting. I think that is a fabulous Thanksgiving Day tradition that we might add to our list. We’re going to have a little bit more of some of these Thanksgiving Day stories because there are always things that happen on Thanksgiving. It’s the good, the bad and the ugly of the cooking day drama. I have a special guest with us. I have Wayne Harvey and he is from the TV5 News team co-anchor in Maine. Welcome to the show, Wayne. I am so excited to have you on.
I am super excited to be here. I can’t wait. Thanks for having me.
I know you started your career at TV5 as an intern in the sports department several years ago and now you are a co-anchor. That is pretty impressive on the news team.
I’ve made a couple of stops along the way. I came back to the first job I had. Now I co-anchor the morning news and almost a couple of years being back there now.
I thought we should start by telling people how we met. Two years ago, both of us competed in a charity event in Maine called the Durham Survivor Warrior Challenge. It’s a four-day survivor game for charity. On that season, because they do this every year, they had five people that were on the show Survivor as contestants and then probably around nineteen other players in addition. Wayne, you were part of that group as well.
I was part of the other group. It wasn’t one of the half dozen survivors.
One of the others. We actually met at that event. We were on a team for a few minutes and then I got split off.
It was a couple of hours.
Was it a couple of hours the first time before I got split off?
We were lost in the woods for a while. We were out in the woods longer than we were supposed to.
We did not find all the clues. I remember that string that we were trying to find and dig. We were lost in the woods for quite some time. That’s where I met Wayne. That was a great event. It was as real as a Survivor game gets. We were sleeping in the cold. We had no shelter. If we were lucky, we got fire and we had to deal with the rain. It was only for five days, which is in Maine when it gets freezing at night, that was good. It was cold. You’re from Maine. I’m from Florida. It was freezing. That was a great event.
You had too many clothes on.
I literally had six layers. I kept taking them off one by one. You had a windbreaker. I don’t know how you got through it with that, but that was a great event. That is where the two of us met. Then I found out that you actually have some Thanksgiving horror stories. Can you relate to some Thanksgiving horror stories?
I had a couple of successes.
We need a little of both. Tell us the story.
Every year when people get up in the morning, the news is still on. Whether it’s Christmas or Thanksgiving or New Year’s Day, it doesn’t matter, we have to work. We’ve made Thanksgiving morning a fun thing. We’ll cook a Thanksgiving meal as people are getting up and getting going. We’ll have a turkey in the oven or we use the deep fryer to cook a turkey one year and it came out great. We did a battered and deep-fried turkey one year. That didn’t come out great because the batter came off and the turkey came out not quite cooked. We had another year, we did the turducken. It came out awesome. That was fantastic.
What was that?
A turducken. A chicken inside of a duck inside of a turkey all cooked at once.
I have never in my entire life heard of that before.When you buy something, you should use it. Don't save it. Click To Tweet
There’s a chicken inside of a duck inside of a turkey and you cook them all. It’s so yummy. We did that one year and it was super successful.
You said the deep fryer. My brother did a deep-fry story. He actually did two. The first year he burnt it to a crisp and it was horrible. It was the Chevy Chase Christmas vacation where it comes out like the bones on the table. That was what happened. Then the next year he cooked it, it was undercooked. We wound up eating Cornish hen that year. Deep fryers are touch and go. Wayne, you do these cooking dishes on air every year. Tell me what other dishes have you tried?
I’m going to save the best one for last. There was one we decided that we wanted to do. Some of the best parts of these Thanksgiving morning shows are when we fail. I’m not a great baker, I’ll admit it. I can cook on a stove top. I can cook on a grill. I’m not a great baker. I was tasked with making sweet potato biscuits one year. I went home, I followed the recipe to the letter and made sweet potato biscuits and they came out horrible. They were so bad. They didn’t rise up. The yeast didn’t activate or it activated. I don’t know what happened but I made little rocks. I said, “I must have done something wrong.” I did it a second time and that came out worse the second time.
I said, “I’m not going to try it again. I’ll just do it live on air tomorrow morning.” Thursday, Thanksgiving morning rolls around and I told my co-anchors, “I messed these up when I tried to test them.” Because they want to have some done so I can pull them out of the oven and go, “The magic of television. Here’s what they look like,” but I didn’t have that option. I go to cook them the third time and I followed the instructions exactly to the letter and they came out like a cement block. They would have broken your teeth if you try to eat them. I don’t know what I did but I did something wrong and they will not let me live it down. We reference it every year now at Thanksgiving. They talked about how you can use them to build your house.
I don’t even get the whole consistency of that. How do you make a biscuit out of a potato?
You boil the sweet potatoes and then you mash them down and then you mix them in with the flour and yeast and other stuff. I don’t remember what was in it, but there were no concrete mix in it but I pretended there was.
I don’t think I’m going to try that for Thanksgiving. I’m going to leave that off the menu since you’re off to three.
Then a couple of years ago, we took viewer suggestions and one of them said to make a lemon meringue pie. Their grandmother had made a lemon meringue pie and this was a family tradition in her house. I said, “I’ve never made a lemon meringue pie. I’ll make it.” The pie crust came up perfect. The lemon filling is amazing. The meringue whips up nicely. It got these great peaks on it, nice fluffy peaks. We put the meringue on and everything is good. The last thing on the recipe said to brown up the meringue before you serve it. I don’t know how you do that. Someone suggested that you use a blowtorch.
In the studio, blowtorch?
It gets worse. I assume you use a blowtorch. They meant one of the small kitchen torches that doesn’t put out much heat. It just toasts it, like toasting a marshmallow. I brought up one that you’d have in your garage full blown torch. I lit the torch live on camera. I dragged the flame across the lemon meringue and then the pie caught fire on air. There were flames looking up from my nicely crafted whipped peaks of meringue. It looks like birthday candles. It looks like these little peaks with the fire going on them. Who knows that meringue catches fire?
Let’s retract some of your steps here. If you’re in a kitchen, why would you go for a blowtorch from the garage? That was mistake number one. How did the producers even let you come into the studio with a blowtorch? That is hilarious.
I don’t let people know what the things that I’m trying most of the time. You have to warm it. You have to toast it with a torch.
You used a blowtorch on live TV, set your lemon meringue pie on fire and you probably will never live that down.
No, that’s a good one but apparently, doing a little research, the sugars and the egg whites will catch fire. Don’t try it at home.
That is not one to try at home. What are you doing this year?
I’m probably going to fail again. I’m going to make a Thanksgiving Ravioli. We’re going to make fresh pasta dough. We’re going to roll it out. We’re going to cut out ravioli dough and then we’re going to fill them, in theory, with turkey, cranberry, mashed potatoes, squash, whatever we have. Seal a little piece of that and then make the ravioli, boil them off and it will be all ready. It’s using Thanksgiving leftovers in a new creative way.
Is this a recipe that you looked up?
We did Thanksgiving stuffed egg rolls one year and those were awesome. You took all the leftovers in, put it in egg roll wrappers and deep fry them.
As you can tell, I’m not a good cook. I don’t cook at all, but that is an interesting thought. That’s a great way to use your leftovers.
You can make a Thanksgiving sandwich.
No, apparently not.
Make egg rolls out of it. Did they bring something to the table instead of all the bad things?
People are walking away knowing now how to you use those leftovers. My husband was telling me this story and I can’t believe that this is true. Here’s how it goes. A friend was going hunting and he wanted to get a turkey for Thanksgiving. He killed a wild turkey and he gave it to his friend to cook for Thanksgiving. He wanted the whole experience of hunting the turkey and then having it for a meal like the olden days. On Thanksgiving Day, his friend cooked the turkey, all the fixings along with it. The meal was ready to go and fabulously prepared. The guy was waiting for the hunter to arrive at his house. The doorbell rings and his friend was at the door but he was with someone else, a game warden. Apparently, the guy went hunting outside of hunting season. This game warden was there to collect the turkey since it was an illegal hunt. When I heard this, do we actually think this is a real story or did the guy just get Punk’d to give up a fully cooked Thanksgiving meal? Doesn’t this sound crazy to you?
It could have happened though because there’s definitely hunting seasons for turkey. There are turkey seasons in Maine. I don’t know why the game warden would want to take a cooked bird like that.
That’s what I’m saying. Did he actually go to the house and take a cooked turkey? I could see if it was the dead turkey.
You can prove it. How could he prove that it’s the wild turkey that he shot?
I think that guy just got Punk’d.
I think so. I’m with you on this one.
This guy’s wearing this badge as some game warden. He just didn’t make Thanksgiving Day turkey and now he has a full turkey meal ready to go.
He promised his family that he’s going to bring home turkey and he had to come up with a way to do it.We do what's comfortable for us. We do what we see. That's how we learn. We follow what we were taught. Click To Tweet
He’s like, “I bought this name badge on Amazon. It’s authentic. Now I’m going to find some sucker who just went hunting and I’m going to take his damn turkey.” I think he was Punk’d.
Can you imagine when he brought it home to his family? “Everybody, long day at work. I have turkey.”
“Honey, I told you, you didn’t have to cook this year. Look what I have.” I was getting emails and texts from people that have Thanksgiving Day dinner horror stories or funny stories or whatever they are. Somebody sent this one to me. They missed Thanksgiving dinner because of a miscommunication.
Didn’t they know it’s Thursday? How do you have a miscommunication in Thanksgiving dinner?
It’s always on Thursday and usually at 3:00. I think there’s more to this story that we don’t know. Here’s the funny part. They said they ended up buying all the Thanksgiving food at Wawa’s. Do you have Wawa’s in Maine?
We do not have Wawa’s in Maine.
Wawa’s is a gas station with a convenience store. They said they bought boxed stuffing, boxed potatoes, turkey lunchmeat and a can of gravy. They said it wasn’t the greatest meal but turkey dinner nonetheless.
I would not have eaten that meal. There’s no way I’m eating a Wawa’s Thanksgiving meal. I’m not going to eat in a place where I can also get wiper fluid and an oil change done and my Thanksgiving dinner. No, I’m out.
I’m with you on that one. I’m not going to lie. I’m not going to have a turkey Thanksgiving dinner. For that, you buy the salad and call it a day. You just give up at that point.
Even with the salad, you don’t know what the oil and the vinaigrette is. If Wawa’s sponsored you, I would be all about it.
Then we will be like, “That is the best Thanksgiving turkey meal ever,” but they don’t. “Stop by at your latest Wawa’s and you too could have the best turkey dinner that you can ever imagine.” No, they don’t.
All the convenient store should mark for that. “Did you forget Thanksgiving? Just stop by.”
“Did you forget that now is Thanksgiving and nothing else is open? We are, here we go, 24/7.” This next person said that the dog ate their uncarved turkey. The turkey was on the table and when they weren’t looking, the dog turned around and ate the entire turkey. That year they had pizza and sides and it was the first Thanksgiving with her new in-laws. That could leave a mark. That’s like, “Honey, who did you marry? This one is not that fabulous. We came here for turkey dinner and we’re having a slice of cheese pizza and some stuffing.”
Pizza and sides, how bad is that going to taste?
That’s going to taste pretty bad. What side actually goes with pizza?
There are mashed potato pizzas. You can put butternut squash on a pizza but not with red sauce and pepperoni.
Either, none of that sounds delicious to me. I’m not playing that game. My mother has never cooked a turkey before in her life. Thank God my aunt loved to cook Thanksgiving feast or else I don’t know what would’ve happened.
I was wondering did you have to cook at the age of three? How did you start? Did you never get a turkey?
I don’t love turkey. I’m not going to lie. It’s not one of my favorite dishes probably because we only had it for a bite once a year. Do people actually cook turkey dinners throughout the year other than Thanksgiving?
Where I grew up, I used to live on the farm. We used to raise turkeys so we would eat turkeys all year long. We would name them and play with them all summer and then we would eat them all winter. We have Jerome one year for Thanksgiving.
“Jerome, do you want to play now because you only got about two months left?”
“Not much longer now, Jerome, you want to get the fun in while you can.” We would yell his name, he would gobble back. He was a great turkey. The taste is fantastic.
If you cook it right, I guess he does. Did you ever do the deep fryer at home?
I have not done that at home. I’ve only done that at work, but it is really good. When it’s done right. It’s good on a deep fryer.
I know this one woman was telling me that she cooked her turkey in the deep fryer and the outside was burnt to a crisp. They were so upset because they thought everything is going to stink now. When they cut it open, it was juicy and ready to go. They just peeled off the skin and ate it that way.
Probably the skin got burned too much but the meat inside was pretty awesome.
This one says, “I went to cut the turkey and all the juice fell on the floor. There was no juice left in the turkey.” How does that happen? You slice the turkey. I don’t know, that’s not happened to me.
If it’s on a foiled pan and you cut down through it all the way.
You lose the juice there. This one’s the last one. “The entire turkey fell on the floor and we salvaged what we could. We made the remnants, put that in the shape of a turkey and then ate it.” I believe in the five-second rule.
Anytime you’re using the word remnants, that’s not on a menu anywhere.
The remnants of the turkey. That’s probably not good. I feel like if you drop it on the floor, you could still eat it.
Of course, you can. There’s a lot of bird there. You just cut off the top layer.
It’s ten, fifteen, twenty pounds of turkey. Take off one pound around the outside and call it a day.
If you were at Survivor, you would have taken that top part of the turkey.
I would have eaten it with dirt on it from the ground. That’s why I’m saying I’m the wrong person to tell that you dropped it on the floor and not eat it. That’s not going to happen, especially on day 36 on Survivor when you’re starving and you have no food. Maybe on day one you’re like, “This is gross.” As it gets longer in the game, you’re like, “Babe, whatever.”
Even if it falls on the floor, depending on who’s around, it’s now just a family secret. You don’t have to tell grandma.
Thank you so much for joining our show. You were fabulous. I can’t wait to hear more from you and see what you’re doing for your meal. I hope it comes out great, your ravioli.
I hope so. It will probably be on Facebook if it goes horrifically wrong. I’ll share it with you.
Thanks so much. We have talked a lot about Thanksgiving and all the things that are available to you, those traditions that you want to keep alive. The good, the bad, the ugly of Thanksgiving. You are going to have a great family holiday. This is the time where you just spend it with your families together. You get together and you create the memories that will last a lifetime. Remember the Carolyn Rivera show is all about you. Follow me on Instagram. We have fabulous things to share with you there. If you are ready for me to help you ignite your will to win, to build a strategic plan, to think about changing your mindset, go to my website at www.CarolynJRivera.com. Send me a message. My passion is to watch people succeed and helping you achieve more than you ever thought possible. Remember, believe, commit, achieve is the secret sauce that you’re looking for.
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