A lone turkey carcass sat on Michael Dukakis’s porch Friday morning — a far cry from post-Thanksgiving two years ago when nearly 30 were left.
The onetime Democratic presidential nominee and former Massachusetts governor is known for his waste-not, want-not mentality, and the day before Thanksgiving in 2015, a Globe story described Dukakis’s thriftiness with turkey carcasses, which led to the generous donations.
“Throwing out a turkey carcass is sinful,” Dukakis said in the article. “It’s a terrible thing to do. There’s so much richness and goodness in a turkey carcass, God.”
The day after Thanksgiving that year, 27 turkey carcasses were left at the home of Dukakis and his wife, Kitty.
“Kitty said, ‘What did you say, that 27 showed up on the same day?’ ” Dukakis said, laughing, in a phone interview Saturday morning.
Dukakis, who does the cooking in the family, made so much soup that year that he donated enough to feed 50 people at a senior center and dropped off more at a community service center in Jamaica Plain.
Dukakis’s love for turkey soup was not chronicled in a paper this year, but that didn’t stop the one donor.
“Yesterday I went outside, and sure enough, a bag of bones showed up,” he said.
“This one looks like a 20-pounder,” Dukakis said. “It’s a big bird and a big carcass.”
Mostly gristle, with small bits of meat clinging to bone, that husk of a turkey is about to be reborn into soup, and he said he anticipates getting one or two more from neighbors.
Saturday night, a woman who said she was the anonymous donor — and who had read the 2015 Globe article — came forward. Amy Mahler, her boyfriend, and two friends dropped off the carcass from a turkey they cooked Thursday.
Mahler said she had heard Dukakis speak at an event a few years ago and had heard about his mentorship from his former students at Northeastern University, where Dukakis is a public policy professor.
She said she had used turkey carcasses in past years but couldn’t this year. Rather than let it go to waste, she left it off where she knew it would be put to good use.
“This year we’re all super busy and wanted it to go to a good, civic-minded home!” said Mahler in a Twitter message.
As a child, Dukakis saw his mother, Euterpe Boukis Dukakis, an immigrant from the city of Larissa in Greece, making soup from turkey carcasses and it became a beloved tradition in the family.
Dukakis said he constantly heard from his mother, “economia, Michalis!” which Dukakis translates as something along the lines of, “Be thrifty, Michael!”
“As the son of Greek immigrants, you waste nothing,” he said.
This year, Dukakis celebrated Thanksgiving Day with Kitty at her sister’s home on Cape Cod, where he was put on mashed potato duty.
Now, Dukakis is planning on cooking a carcass into soup for a dinner with his neighbors and their 7-year-old twins. Remaining carcasses will be chopped up and frozen to eat later with his grandchildren, who also love turkey soup.
The recipe was passed down from his mother. To make the concoction, he said, “Chop up the carcass and toss it into a large pot, filled with water. Add a quartered onion, and let it simmer for at least 3½ hours. After, remove the bones.” He recommends adding rice, pasta, or vegetables to the mixture for great flavor.
Dukakis also applies the strategy to chickens, which he said he buys at Costco for $5. “We’ll get six meals out of it,” he said. “Once we eat the meat, the chicken carcass will go in the pot.”
But his family’s traditional turkey soup holds a special place in his heart. “You do that with a Greek salad, and there’s no better meal,” he said.Sarah Betancourt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @sweetadelinevt.