How to carve a turkey

"One year the turkey took a long time to cook and I went to carve it after about 13 beers. The way I remember it, I bore down to take off the leg and the whole thing went shooting off the platter and knocked over the centerpiece."

That’s Maurice Landry, who lives near Lake Charles, La., telling the N.Y. Times about his worst turkey carving experience — at least the one he can partially remember.

Forget the Father Knows Best approach with the big bird gracefully carved and doled out to the appreciative — or glassy-eyed — guests.

Ray Venezia, the meat director for the four Fairway markets, a third-generation butcher and one of the biggest turkey purveyors in New York City, carves turkey the same way I do.

"I don’t cut like a chef, I cut like a butcher."

Instead of slicing the meat from the roast at the table, Mr. Venezia’s carving protocol calls for the biggest pieces, the breasts and the thighs, to be removed whole, then boned and sliced on a cutting board. “Trying to carve from the carcass is like trying to cut it off a beach ball: it’s all curved surfaces and it moves around under the knife,” he said. “Give me a flat cutting board any time.”