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The Pregnant Turkey

Netlore Archive: For a Thanksgiving Day laugh, a mom stuffs a roast turkey with a cornish game hen as a practical joke on her naive daughter.

Description: Email joke / Urban legend
Circulating since: 1996 / Earlier?
Status: Well, it could happen!

turkey
Photo by Ghislain & Marie David de Lossy / Getty Images


Example:
Email text contributed by Lori E., Nov. 16, 2006:

One year at Thanksgiving, my mom went to my sister's house for the traditional feast. Knowing how gullible my sister is, my mom decided to play a trick. She told my sister that she needed something from the store. When my sister left, my mom took the turkey out of the oven. She removed the stuffing, stuffed a Cornish hen, inserted it into the turkey, and re-stuffed the turkey. She then placed the bird(s) back in the oven.

When it was time for dinner, my sister pulled the turkey out of the oven and proceeded to remove the stuffing. When her serving spoon hit something, she reached in and pulled out the little bird.

With a look of total shock on her face, my mother exclaimed, "Patricia, You've cooked a pregnant bird!"

At the reality of this horrifying news, my sister started to cry. It took the family two hours to convince her that turkeys lay eggs!

Yep, you got it....

SHE'S BLONDE!


Analysis: This is a good enough practical joke that I'm sure it has been played on some gullible soul at one time or another. We find it first mentioned on the Internet in the form of a recommended holiday prank, posted in April 1996:


Here's one for Thanksgiving:

Put a cornish game hen inside the turkey before you cook it. Tell the people at the table that it was pregnant. For the squeamish, a hard-boiled egg is almost as good!

The earliest anecdotal variant I've found online is almost identical to our email version, sans the unnecessary "She's blonde" tag line. It was posted in November 2000:

One year at Thanksgiving, my mom went to my sister's house for the traditional feast. Knowing how gullible my sister was, mom decided to play a trick. She told my sister that she needed something from the store and sent her for it. While she was gone, my mom took the turkey out of the oven, stuffed it, restuffed it with a Cornish game hen, put stuffing back over the top of it, and put it back in the oven.

When it came time for dinner, my sister pulled the turkey out of the oven and proceeded to remove the stuffing. When her serving spoon hit something, she reached in and pulled out this little bird.

With a look of total shock on her face, my mother exclaimed, "Patricia, you killed a pregnant bird!!" At the reality of this horrifying news, my sister started to cry. It took my mother two hours to convince her that turkeys lay eggs.

Devotees of cooking pranks may also enjoy a similarly-themed story which I ran across online and hereby dub "The Incredible Shrinking Turkey."

Lastly, there is an actual holiday dish consisting of a chicken stuffed inside a duck stuffed inside a turkey called "turducken." I hear it's quite tasty.


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Further reading:

Thanksgiving History, Traditions and Folklore
Lore and history of the quintessentially American holiday

Christmas History, Traditions and Folklore
Facts, myths, folklore and trivia pertaining to the celebration of Christmas and the origins of seasonal holiday traditions.


Last updated: 11/23/13


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