Day 067: Consider The Turkey
As a grocer, I really wasn’t sure what to expect out of this Thanksgiving Season. It’s always been a crapshoot in NYC, but it’s even weirder this year. Nobody is leaving their house for the holidays, which is allegedly because we are smarter and more good looking than the rest of the country. This has led to a lot of questions that usually end in “what do I do”, “what do you think” or “am I crazy”. The answer is yes. You are crazy for cooking a gigantic meal for two. But I’m doing it, too. That’s just how it is. To answer the other questions, it’s sides, sides and more sides. Just make sides. It’s the best part of the meal and you now have the power to make it the only part of your meal! There is absolutely no reason to cook a full turkey for two people. That’s going to lead to a horrendous amount of waste and it will completely blow up your fridge space. Your kitchen isn’t as big as your parents. You’re not going to have the space. Forget about the damn turkey.
But nobody wants to take that as an answer. They want their turkey.
Cool. I get it. I find turkey to be delicious, but not enough to justify cooking a whole bird. I’ve had people ask me if I carry 4 pound turkeys. I tell them, “no, they don’t make Cornish Game Turkeys”. That may seem like a rude response, but let’s observe the question that I’m commonly asked. Do you really think that turkey farmers were going to kill baby turkeys preemptively because people might need to socially distance for Thanksgiving? Were you expecting them to be starved? Shrunk by a laser beam? Genetically engineered for this year and this year only? No. That’s not a thing that happens. I don’t carry 4 pound turkeys.
My next line of defense is to suggest cooking a chicken. If you must truly eat poultry for your 2 Man Thanksgiving, then you might as well eat one that’s proportionately sized. This suggestion is always scoffed at, to which I roll my eyes. Don’t play coy with your grocer. I know for a fact that you eat chicken 2-3 days a week. You fucking love chicken! It’s your third favorite thing next to avocados and freedom! Why is it preposterous to eat chicken on a day when you should be thankful for chicken?!? If turkey is that important to you, why don’t you buy it year-round?
And this question opens up Pandora’s box. The roasted whole turkey is a staple on the Thanksgiving table but ignored after the leftovers are gone. It essentially goes the way of the pumpkin after Halloween, the pine tree after Christmas, the egg after Easter and the sock after Memorial Day. But unlike the Turkey, those objects aren’t living creatures (except in certain horror movies). Where are all the non-Thanksgiving turkeys going?
The simple answer is that they’re going into deli meat. Of course. Sliced Turkey is amazing and people eat it all the time. In fact, it’s probably the most popular deli meat. But that only derived from breast meat. Unless the turkeys are coming from Dollywood, that’s only a small portion of the turkey. Where’s the rest of it going? Ground Turkey? Renaissance fairs? There’s no possible way they could use the same amount of turkey parts as they do breasts. That’s because instead of normalizing eating roasted turkeys, we fetishized it for one day a year. If you ask me, that’s kind of fucked up! I could only imagine how many unused turkey parts are discarded in a given year.
I understand that turkey is just plain tradition. It’s literally the only tradition we’ve maintained from the original. We don’t dress as pilgrims. We don’t eat outside. I’ve never seen a cornucopia. I get it. Sure, keep your turkey, I’m not going to stop you. But when you sit down to eat your Thanksgiving Turkey, take a moment to consider it’s feelings. How would you like it if people only cared about you once a year and the only people that give you attention otherwise do so because of your breasts? You would probably hate it. Or you might even relate to it. In other words, the turkey is the neglected wife of the food chain.