HUMOR: A Weighty Problem for Jennie-O… the Rest is Gravy

Reprinted from Daily Post, November 2011.

Last week we had a pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving.  I highly recommend this sort of event, because it takes the usual pressure off Thanksgiving if you prepare Thanksgiving dinner on a different day, preferably prior to the designated day. That leaves the actual holiday open for actual fun.

The star of the main course, of course, was a roasted turkey.  I chose a frozen premium Jennie-O young turkey because, first, I like Jennie-O ground turkey, and second, the cost of an 18-pound turkey at City Market was $9.  Two good reasons.

I meticulously thawed out the turkey per the instructions, and then handed it over to Bill Hudson, who had volunteered to be responsible for its roasting, something he excels in.

jennie-o turkey and gravy experience colorado

Bill removed the plastic wrapping, rinsed it off, and pulled out the usual neck and giblets.  But in doing so, he felt something else that was unexpected, much as an obstetrician may feel right before an unexpected twin is presented to the world.

To our amazement, Bill extracted a rather large pouch from the turkey which was identified as “turkey gravy mix”.

An unexpected gift of a gravy kit from Jennie-O?  Or was it something more sinister?

As Bill proceeded to prepare the turkey for roasting, I observed out loud, “That doesn’t look like an 18-pound turkey to me.  Let’s weigh it.”

I got my digitally correct scale and asked Bill to step on it.

“I’ve lost six pounds!” he announced, even though I wasn’t interested in weighing him (his loss, my gain) but rather, in weighing the turkey.

I handed Bill the turkey and he stepped back on the scale.  The net result was that my 18-pound turkey really weighed only 15.6 pounds.  That’s a 2.4 pound difference.

Of course the neck and giblets weigh something, but I was curious as to how much that gravy pouch weighed that was hidden within the turkey, and on the Jennie-O label as well. I weighed the pouch on my digital food scale, and it weighed 1.6 pounds!  That’s 1.6 pounds less turkey meat than I thought l was buying.

I was not a happy camper.

We proceeded to get the turkey into the oven, and then turned our attention to the mysterious gravy pouch that replaced 1.6 pounds of the turkey we purchased.  The ingredient list was not appealing.

“Let’s open it up and see what it smells like,” I suggested.  We did just that, and poured it into a large Pyrex cup, and took a whiff. Yuck!  Whatever it was, I would never let it touch my turkey — or my turkey gravy.  It smelled salty and chemical.  Yuck!

jennyo turkey gravy smelled like chemicals

Why am I writing this?  Because I want to warn our readers about the mysterious gravy pouch hidden inside the frozen Jennie-O turkeys — that adds weight to the turkey but is, in my opinion, worthless.

How many turkeys are overcooked because they weigh substantially less than their price-per-pound weight?  I wonder.

If you want a simple recipe for a great tasting gravy, here’s the link.

But I use much less flour than the recipe — so go slow and easy on adding the flour.

Oh, by the way, Happy Thanksgiving!

Cynda Green

Cynda Green is an investigative reporter who enjoys writing about various and sundry topics, least of which is politics. But someone has to do it. Contact: