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Let's Talk Turkey Risk Analysis

Hyman Weisbord

I have shared my life for the last 20 years with a woman whose career was to worry about what could go wrong.

Kate was the first person certified in Quebec as a Control and Self-Assessment Analyst (CCSA), from the International Internal Auditors organization and she used this knowledge and her MBA to finish her career in a financial institution as an Operational Risk Manager with a six-figure salary and a pension.

Yaa for me!

When I once asked her to describe what she did she gave me this example: “Say you are a wealthy owner of a fleet of ships. You buy a new one to transport cargo across the oceans. There are risks to your business to assess.

"You can leave the ship in a protected harbour, make no money with it and have low risk or you can load it up with cargo, sail it out to the ocean, increase the chances you will get richer but you also increase the risks.

"In this case my job is to work with the people that know ships and shipping, elicit from these experts the risks associated with using the ship to transport cargo, help them mitigate those risks by identifying them, and develop a good action plan of controls.”

I understood that.

Shit happens. She tries to make it not happen.

Three days ago, we decided to buy a turkey here in Thailand.

The idea was to make a Christmas dinner for the owners and staff at the six-room hotel where we lodge, invite some local and foreign friends, give out some presents.

I was put on the Turkey File.

I had forgotten about ships in the harbour.

My first search gave me Klong Phai Farm:

Our turkeys are raised with their health as the top priority. They have free access to a route that is designed to allow the birds to develop in optimal conditions, living significantly longer lives than most other poultry. Ample space is given to our turkeys to roam, so that they can become strong and healthy, which in turn results in better quality, flavourful meat. By only ever eating a totally natural diet, they develop the most wonderful flavour that we have become known for, loved by chefs and consumers around the Kingdom.

Sounded good. Shipped frozen. $ 220.00 CDN for a 7 kilo turkey !

WTF……. next.

Me: “Kate, can I have May’s contact please ?”

May is Thai, lives here, buys everything online.

Within 6 hours she found a 6 kilo turkey for 80 bucks… Delivered…….Frozen.

Ok, maybe these turkeys were not raised in “optimal conditions,” ( in fact we found out later that they were shipped in from the USA.) But if you’re a sentient turkey, you may know that shit will happen to you. Accident of birth.

We ordered The Bird and the ship sailed out of the harbour.

I had done my own risk analysis and had rehearsed with the smiley battle axe Hotel and Café Manager into which freezer The Bird would land.

I had given DHL the phone number of said Manager to advise when the delivery was close in order to accept it.

I had checked The CCTV network at the hotel and knew The Bird could not be dropped off without being seen in short order.

Turkey surveillance CCTV cameras

AND, I had accepted to be at the tennis courts at 5.15 that same day.

We now know from interviews with participants, replays of the CCTV recordings, Thai instructions translated into English, post mortems on The Bird and the benefit of hindsight, what happened.

Day 1.

2.05 pm: Call comes in from DHL to Manager… “package on it’s way.” (interview by author with Manager)

2.35 pm : DHL delivers into private driveway beside building a white Styrofoam box with The Bird inside. It is clearly marked that the parcel contains a frozen turkey to be delivered to Kathleen MacDonald …… In Thai! (replays from CCTV console, Google translation of sheet on box)

2.40 pm: Battle Axe Manager who has received delivery notice phone call sees styrofoam container, picks it up and brings it to inner courtyard. Kate and I are in our air-conditioned room, reading. It’s 31 degrees in the courtyard. Manager, ignores instructions on box. ( interview by author with aforementioned Fearsome Manager ).

5.15 pm: Hyman goes tearing out of room to play tennis, sees Styrofoam box sitting in sun, runs up to room to tell Kate that “The Bird has arrived “and promptly dumps The Bird File onto Kate ( Tennis players will understand that).

5.16 pm: Kate opens box to find half-thawed turkey, warm interior top of Styrofoam box.( Lecture from Kate attended by author)

5.20- 7.10 pm: Kate does extensive reach out, online, across the planet to sisters and friends in order to assess viability of saving The Bird for eating. (More Lecture from Kate attended by author)

7.30pm- 7 am: Hyman eats alone, sleeps alone in single bed in room. (personal testimony from author)

Day 2.

7.05 am: In parallel to thawing Bird, frozen relationship starts to Thaw.

Options present:

Option # 1.

It is immediately obvious that Kate, CCSA, will not serve a turkey to 18 Thai people and 6 Farang that to her is obviously contaminated with spreading listeria She wants to dump The Bird. She has done ALL the research ( see Appendix: 1-21, bibliography : 1-19 and list of websites: 1- 12.)

Option # 2.

Hyman finds one USDA site that says that cooking The Bird will kill listeria. (see Appendix:1-1)

Hyman wants to cook The Bird and eat it in front of Kate to prove it’s viability. Once point is made, Hyman will offer delicious roast turkey as a Christmas gift to the local tourists throughout this small town with some background info… like it could make you sick, maybe kill you.

After brief discussion, Option # 1 Prevails.

Within hours, Kate and May have ordered a new, bigger Bird .

Kate tracks it’s progress like a NASA flight commander, monitoring every increment of it’s voyage. It arrives rock hard. We have EIGHT KILOS of frozen turkey and The Bird comes to roost in the freezer awaiting it’s three day thaw in the refrigerator. ( Appendix # 6) before roasting for EIGHT HOURS, in the oven (Appendix #7.)

BUT: For me, just today over breakfast I learned that there’s a restaurant on the beach that is offering a Christmas dinner in a week’s time WITHOUT a turkey.

That feels wrong to me.

Maybe, just maybe they can up their offer.

I’m heading over there now to talk turkey.

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