The holiday season is beginning and Thanksgiving is nearly here! Here’s some interesting science for you: as you’ve probably heard on the news, throwing a frozen turkey into a deep fryer or even the oven can cause it to explode. This is because frozen meat is full of moisture. When the meat experiences a sudden spike in temperature from the overload of heat, the moisture inside it is vaporized and turns to gas molecules. Those molecules have energy and want to expand outward, causing a change in pressure (think PV = nRT). Since the volume of the meat can be considered constant, this causes the meat to explode. Where I’m from, the local fire department gives out an annual warning to everyone: Be sure you completely thaw out your turkey before you cook it.
In back of the house in Battle Creek, Thanksgiving 2014 (no blizzard that year).
Some people have turducken on Thanksgiving, which is a turkey with layers of duck and chicken meat placed inside it. Basically, a big hunk of meats. Fun fact: In England, their version of turducken is called gooducken and has goose instead of turkey.
Anyways, I hope you all have a good break. I will leave you with a Thanksgiving story.
Every other year or so, my parents, two brothers and I will all pile in the car and drive to Battle Creek, MI to spend Thanksgiving with our relatives out on their farm. The drive from our house north of Chicago normally takes three to three and a half hours. However, traveling on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving is notoriously slow, and despite our best efforts that same drive has taken us six hours three different times.
The first time this happened was several years ago. None of us kids had school that day so we were able to leave in the afternoon, before rush hour. “We’ll be there in time for dinner!” we said.
My cousin looking at home, Thanksgiving 2014.
The snow started falling before we hit the Michigan border. Soon enough it turned into a full-on blizzard. When we got to Kalamazoo, the whole highway came to a complete standstill. And then, we just sat. At one point, Dad got out and dusted off the windshield because the snow was so heavy the wipers couldn’t clear it. Up and down the road, other people were doing the same. Some called out greetings. One guy stood in the thick snow drinking out of a thermos, and another cracked his window and turned up the radio.
“They’re moving up ahead!” someone shouted several minutes later. Everyone hopped back in their cars and got ready to crawl forward.
A stripe of blue sky in the late afternoon, Thanksgiving 2014.
When we were able, we got off the highway and took back roads the rest of the way. We passed a lot of cars that had slipped into the ditch, including a string of three in a row that were each within a couple hundred feet of the next.
Six hours after we’d left and well after dark, we finally made it to the house. Needless to say, we were very late for dinner. But Thanksgiving is about the things you’re thankful for, and we were thankful to all be together.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone, and thank you Lord for all the blessings.