How To Decide Who Carves Your Thanksgiving Turkey

There's nothing quite like a family Thanksgiving. Sure, your aunt may bring her weird casserole that, ever since you were a child, you wouldn't touch. And, yes, you'll probably have to make awkward small talk with relatives who you swear you have never seen before — yet they curiously know everything about you. While the average Thanksgiving may not be a Norman Rockwell-ian vision, it's still a moment in which all of the chaos of the world melts away, when family can get together, sit down, and enjoy a delicious feast together. 

Perhaps one of the fondest memories you may have is seeing your father cutting the first slice of that big golden-brown bird sitting in the middle of the table, with everyone just waiting to get that first bite of that juicy, tender Thanksgiving turkey.

But how exactly does the tradition of cutting a turkey work: Who gets to decide who carves the turkey, and is it some unspoken rule, or perhaps some ancient cultural practice carried over to the modern household? Is there ever a change of hands? Fortunately, Martha Stewart's website has all the answers to ensure your Thanksgiving doesn't come to blows over who gets this distinctive honor.

Use these four pieces of advice to decide your Thanksgiving carver

The article on Martha Stewart's blog shares the advice of etiquette columnist Thomas. P. Farley, who says the practice of turkey carving goes back to the Medieval era, where, due to the absence of forks, a head "carver" was expected to cut pieces of meat small enough to be eaten with a spoon or with your fingers. Over the centuries, culinary practices have evolved, Farley says, and so we come to the modern problem of deciding who will be the person to carve the Thanksgiving bird. According to Farley, there are four simple suggestions to ensure that the right person gets the job and does it well.

The first piece of advice Farley gives is that the host reserves the right to carve the turkey, although if they are unwilling or have never carved a turkey before, they are free to request that elder members of the family (such as the grandfather or grandmother) take over the task. The second piece of advice is to allow "co-op" carving between two hosts to help avoid disagreements, or to use the timely practice of breaking a wishbone to decide upon the ultimate carver. The third suggestion is to skip the carving show entirely, and just cut up the bird in the kitchen yourself. And finally, his fourth recommendation is to allow the host to decide — after all, they cooked it, so they should decide. 

While you may not always have a Thanksgiving free of blunders and sometimes comedic mishaps, you can always look forward to enjoying a delicious turkey dinner with the ones you love — no matter who cuts the turkey.