Friday, November 13, 2009

Turkey Sucks

Yeah, it's been a while. After 20 months I just needed a break, but now I'm back, refreshed, renewed, reborn, rejuvenated, get the picture. I got my hair cut again yesterday, which I do every six weeks, and realized that my last post was after my last haircut, which meant that six weeks had gone by. So, my break is over, and it's time to get back to it.

So much happens and yet nothing happens. The seasons change, daylight disappears in the evening, when you want light, and appears way too early in the morning, when you want dark. Leaves are raked and blown and are migrated from tree to sidewalk. A season of Mad Men comes to a satisfying end, while yet another season of Real Housewives comes to a satisfying start. Books are read, trips are taken. I will get to all of it, eventually, but on this morning, as I begin preparations for another Thanksgiving, I want to talk about turkey.

I'll start by admitting that I hate turkey. Yes, it smells good while it's roasting, but at the end of all that effort you're left with exactly two pieces of OK-tasting poultry - the meat from the inner thigh - and about 10 pounds of dessicated tastelessness. Stuff it or don't, brine it or don't, the end result is still a lot of meat that you then spend a week disguising in mayonnaise-laden sandwiches or cheese-ridden casseroles. In the end, there's absolutely no reason that we make turkey for Thanksgiving other than the fact that we think it's traditional.

Did the Indians and Pilgrims eat turkey at that originary meal? Perhaps, we don't really know. Oysters were plentiful in the Bay, and the natives would have brought corn, root vegetables, that kind of thing. Venison was just as likely as turkey on that 17th-century groaning board. No, we eat turkey at the holidays because our parents served it, and our parents served it because they like to think they grew up in a Normal Rockwell painting but really probably were served turkey by our grandparents simply because it was a cheap way to feed a lot of people.

No matter the origins, turkey is a bad idea. If turkey was actually so delicious, wouldn't it be served in fine restaurants everywhere? Have you ever once said, "I want to go out for a really good piece of turkey?" When planning a nice dinner party for your friends or loved ones other than Thanksgiving or Christmas, do you buy a huge frozen bird? If turkey were so good, wouldn't there be a McTurkey sandwich? Wouldn't Julie and Julia have featured Julia Child in her French kitchen mastering the art of brining?

Thanksgiving is, at heart, a dinner party. It took me years to realize this, but it is the truth. I've let go of all the holiday cliches, and treat it as what it is. If I want to serve roast beef or rack of lamb, that's what I serve. If I want creamed corn instead of sweet potatoes that's what I make. This year I'm considering fondue. You don't need turkey. You probably don't even want it, if you think about it.

Free yourselves this holiday season. Make whatever you want!


Sandy said...

Actually, I LIKE turkey...AND I like that it's a big cheap bird that feeds a bunch of people. Unless you buy a fresh, local grass-fed turkey...then it's a more expensive smaller bird that tastes even better!

alan said...

November 19 is
World Toilet Day

Get involved in the activities.
Click and find events in your areas.

Need ideas for WTD? Click here

What do we serve that day?

tunsie said...

the menu includes black turkey,roasted pumpkin,brussel sprouts.cranberry relish.wild rice.pickled turnip.portugese wine.carrot salad.mashed sweet potato.i want u 2 come 4 dinner....tunsie.tunsie.tunsie