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Do You Despise Turkey As Much As I Do?

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Every year. Turkey. Every year I try to get my family to agree to a nice prime rib. Or steak. Or leg of lamb. Or cornish hen. Or even guinea fowl--or quail. It doesn't work.

The weird thing is that so many people I know don't even like turkey but put up with it anyway because it IS Thanksgiving. My own kids are adults. Not only do they insist on turkey--but they crave that disgusting green bean casserole too!! UGH!

Sooooo...I'm wondering. AM I the only one around here who does not like turkey? I pick at the dark meat but when I sit down at the table I only eat the potatoes, Turnips, and greens.

Oh well...just askin'

  1. I agree with you. I eat the wing & then I'm done with turkey. Maybe if you served a goose, you could sneak it by them (since it's big, but not quite as big as turkey)-- and then they might get hooked on something that's actually tasty!

    1. You can make a turkey AND a prime rib/ham/leg of lamb/steak/lasagne/whatever. There are no rules.

      Saying you sit and pick and only eat sides at a rare meal with all family and tradition and most likely permanent memories(photographs that the grandchildren will look at long after you are gone) sounds waay too picky.

      There are plenty of things I don't like, but if I am making the meal, in my own home, I make certain to include items I do like and will eat. I'm not going to cook a huge meal and not enjoy it.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Cathy

        Wow. I must've sounded like a totally miserable woman when I posted that! Yes. I realize that I can make whatever. However, between the sides, all the baking, the turkey, the brining and everything else that goes into the traditional meal, I can make the rib/ham/lamb....the next day.
        Goodness! I may sit at the table and eat the sides, but I certainly don't sulk about..I still engage in the great conversation. My bad for sounding so...so bad!

        1. re: jarona

          The word "despise" is harsh.

          We always have a ham and a turkey. At Christmas, we have ham, turkey and also have a rib roast. All three/any of those meats can be cooked the day before, sliced and re-warmed for serving. None needs to be served hot from the oven. Also, you can just buy a turkey breast if you think that it would be too much food.

          I'm glad you aren't miserable. You really can do whatever you want though. Tell them you were 'experimenting' with another recipe and wanted them to all try it since they would all be there that day...see if it goes before the turkey. Be the 'eccentric' grandma.

          1. re: jarona

            Jarona - you didn't sound bad, just vehement!

        2. I cooked for a living off and on (mostly on) for 35 years. It took years for me to be able to enjoy turkey, prime rib, steaks again. At a country club I worked in I had to cook off 3 turkeys and 7 rib roasts every day and double that on Sundays. I ate alot of sandwiches and hot dogs those years.

          1. I find turkey generally boring and my least favourite commonly available meat. However, it is the traditional Christmas meat and there's no convincing the family that we should try something else. I eat a bit of the leg meat and look forward to some nicer food later on.

            7 Replies
            1. re: Harters

              Traditional CHRISTMAS meat? I thought that was ham - at least in our family. We often had both, but if we only had one roast for xmas, it was ham. Actually goose is probably "traditional" but seldom used these days, at least in the US.

              1. re: ZenSojourner

                Harters doesn't live in the US, Zen. Neither do I. In Canada turkey would be more generally served at Christmas. In Québec, where I live, Thanksgiving is not much more than a day off for most people.

                I don't despise turkey, but in general I think it is better served in ways other than a big and often dry roast. I bought some very good turkey thighs not long ago, and braised them as part of a mole (molé) dish. Very good and flavourful that way.

                1. re: lagatta

                  I realize Harters lives in England, hence my surprise that turkey is considered "traditional" for any holiday. I would have thought goose or duck or ham or a roast far more likely.

                  Goes to show what I know.

                  1. re: ZenSojourner

                    Actually, I'm in the US and turkey is also our "traditional" Christmas meal.

                    1. re: gaffk

                      Turkey was the "traditional" Thanksgiving, Christmas AND Easter meal for my family, probably because everyone would eat it. Now in my own house I switch it up. Love prime rib which will be on the Xmas table this year. I could live without ever eating ham again, but my husband loves it so we have that for Easter now and then and he'll grill a couple of lamb chops for me. A thick slice of ham is always availabe in the grocery store. Consider that for yourself next Thanksgiving.

                      1. re: Island

                        I've never had a mere slice of ham that was actually any good. Gotta be the whole ham! Which is why I almost never have it anymore.

                      2. re: gaffk

                        Which is why I said "at least in my family"

                        Ham was "traditional" for Easter, too.

              2. I can't believe your family would choose turkey over a standing rib roast...

                I don't dislike turkey as a protein, but I do dislike the accepted idea that it must be eaten for Thanksgiving. If I were to pick a protein for a big gathering, the first two options would be a standing rib roast and a roasted suckling pig. I hate that turkey often gets in the way of better things.

                I like green beans, but I usually just gobble down anything and everything sweet potato.

                1. I am not a huge fan of turkey or goose but I have made plenty of both over the years. Frankly I live for the sides. The roasted garlic mashed potatoes with shallot and wild mushroom gravy, the butternut squash and apple soup, the butternut squash and amaretti ravioli, the homemade tortellini in brodo, the sausage and fennel stuffing, the pan fried brussel sprouts, the roasted cauliflower with bagna cauda sauce, oyster bread pudding, sformato parmigiano etc. etc. etc.. I love the desserts like chocolate pecan pie, butternut squash and pumpkin pie with whipped cream, creme brulee, chocolate pots de creme etc. etc. etc. I brine and roast the turkey for the crowd but everything else I make for me ;-).

                  This year one of my neices asked for a turkey moratorium and everyone agreed (much to my surprise). Our mains are going to be a seafood crepe with lobster, shrimp, crab, mussels and Beschamel sauce along with Mexican style grilled pork with a pumpkin seed mole. I might actually eat more of the main courses than the sides this year ... and possibly several pounds heavier.

                  Heaven!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: KateB

                    We are having Thanksgiving stuffed flounder and I am looking forward to it! It is so strange how people are so stuck on turkey for Thanksgiving. I know it is traditional but as a cook there are so many wonderful things to make!

                    1. re: KateB

                      Where do you live, and what time is dinner? :)) All of that sounds delicious.

                      To the OP, I'm not crazy about turkey, but prefer it over red meat. At least when I'm at a social function and there is turkey I can have that instead of my plate looking REALLY conspicuous with no protein on it.

                    2. "Not only do they insist on turkey--but they crave that disgusting green bean casserole too!! UGH!"

                      You must have made the green bean casserole when youre kids were growing up for them to crave it. I started making it for my daughter when she was young and she insists on it every year....I like it too. It's not that bad.

                      I keep thinking about all the people you say who dont even like turkey....but they're probably ordering the healthier turkey sandwich option when they order a sandwich.

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: monku

                        I've never eaten that casserole in my life. Discovered it at this board. It sounds ghastly.

                        1. re: lagatta

                          me either, thank goodness. my parents aren't from here, so it wasn't in our repertoire. although they managed to glom onto the yams with baby marshmallows, unfortunately.

                          1. re: mariacarmen

                            The gooey yams were an improvement over the canned candied yams my Italian mother thought were traditional for that American holiday ... Thanksgiving. They didn't do such a great job with the largest turkey they could find either -- way overcooked it -- but the stuffing was some kind of elaborate Italian sausage, egg and bread thing that O thought was ghastly too.

                          2. re: lagatta

                            I never even *heard* of green bean casserole until I moved to Pittsburgh in 1999. I'm in my 50s, and most of my age cohort here say it was as integral a part of Thanksgiving as stuffing. We never ate it in NJ or DC, anywhere I ever ate.

                            I don't *despise* turkey. I just find it boring. At last night's dinner, I was able to have ham, so I was fine. I did have a piece of turkey, which, eaten with mashed potatoes and gravy, is palatable.

                            1. re: lagatta

                              I always knew it existed, but thankfully my family didn't buy into it. Fresh green beans. Sometimes almondine, sometimes just buttered. You just shouldn't mess with the good stuff.

                            2. re: monku

                              Don't they put canned onion rings on that? Scary!

                              1. re: monku

                                I didn't grow up with it but ai like it anyway for some reason.
                                Last year I made it with fresh green beans and mushrooms in an alfredo sauce. But i did put the canned fried onions on top and loved every bite.

                              2. I like turkey well enough but would love it a lot more if it had six legs...I've just never been much of a fan of the breast meat, even as a kid. Come to think of it, growing up there was never enough of the dark meat, and always breast meat left over (which I didn't mind as much when it was transformed into turkey a-la-king).

                                I had an office job at a cable TV company for a few years. The T-day week lunch feasts they always threw for the office was generous, but I rarely had more than a bite or two of the turkey because the caterers always delivered breast meat only, slices and swimming in gravy (which, on the chafing dishes, seemed to strangely draw even more moisture OUT of the meat). Thankfully there was also always a delicious ham...some of the best I ever had..

                                I do still remember the first time I had goose during the holidays at my then girlfriend's house...it was heaven...wonderfully rich, flavorful, succulent meat from neck to tail!
                                The potatoes roasted with goose fat were to die for.
                                These days, 42 years down the line, I guess they'd be to die _from_. LOL

                                1. Turkey meat is hopelessly dry and bland so Ive always believed that the best use for a turkey is a flavoring device for the stuffing.

                                  I love to cook for others but I tend not to eat dinner because I am tired and the smells are not appetizing after spending the past 10 hours assembling the meal. I'll probably catch a huge amount of flack for this comment but Thanksgiving day is just another day for me and I would happily spend the day cooking in a restaurant if I could.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Kelli2006

                                    I'm with you. I slaved to make bird day dinner for my family for 20 years in a row. This will be the 26th year in a row that I have NOT made bird day dinner, and I don't miss it one iota. Turkey is bland and tasteless, even when it's not dry. I'll eat it, but there is no way I'll ever again go to the trouble of cooking it. I was sorely tempted by the bacon encrusted turkey in pear cider recipe on this site, but with surgery coming up, ended up not doing it. If I ever do try a turkey again, it'll be that recipe, but "traditional" turkey?

                                    Never again!

                                  2. God help me for saying it, and my chowhound status may be revoked for it, but Thanksgiving is about mental comfort food. I know we love better tasting things, but people want the Norman Rockwell painting living on their table every year. Glowing golden turkey, mashed potatoes, vile green bean casserole, overly sweet marshmallow yams, and pumpkin pie. Experiment at Christmas, but Thanksgiving experiments will inevitably yield cranky relatives.

                                    1. Had some great Bourbon-brined turkey tonight. Looking forward to leftovers tomorrow. If you don't like turkey, I suspect you've had it poorly prepared. Dry, over-cooked turkey is everywhere.

                                      1. I think i enjoy the turkey left over meals than I do the original carved bird at the thanksgiving meal. Usually..first day..hot open faced turkey sandwiches with the leftover gravy. Then..turkey salad sandwiches (maybe I just like sandwiches). or finely grind the leftover meat into a pate type spread..with touch of mayo..hot sauce..dijon..spread on crackers.

                                        1. We gave up on turkey 30 years ago. Now Thanksgiving is always BBQ brisket or German food. This year it will be paprika schnitzel and last year was konigsberger klopse. We also have the dinner on Fridays as the kids (all daughters) and grandkids are usually obligated somewhere else on Thursdays.

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: OnkleWillie

                                            I teach ESL and hear a lot of negative comments about turkey from people who have recently moved to the US and didn't eat turkey in the past. One of my students told me she and her fellow Koreans don't like turkey at all and think it smells bad. I know what she means, actually. I get an farm-raised turkey (as opposed to like a butterball) and I can still identify the taste she describes. I just don't think it's a particularly bad taste. But yeah, a lot of people don't like turkey and defintitely, a lot of people can't cook it.

                                            1. re: bibi rose

                                              In years past, I've taught ESL and FSL and did get similar comments about turkey and several other foodstuffs and ways of cooking. Interesting that turkey, originally from the American continent, might not have spread throughout Asia or other continents. When I studied in Italy, turkey was common, but always done up in roasts or other cuts - never as a whole giant bird. I think those could be ordered by expats, but they were expensive. Certainly not accessible on a foreign student budget.

                                              From the "Italy Poultry Outlook":

                                              "Although overall poultry meat consumption increased by 2.1 per cent in 2009, turkey meat consumption has been almost flat, a trend that is expected to continue in 2010. About 79 per cent of turkey meat is sold as 'selected pieces', i.e. legs, breasts, etc., 19 per cent as processed products (such as stuffed or roasted turkey, sausages, wurstel etc), and two per cent as whole birds".

                                              It does have a peculiar odour - my turkey thighs for the molé braise were also raised on a local farm and good quality poultry, but the smell is quite different from the more universal chicken. On the other hand, I find "castoff" turkey parts such as the sinewy drumsticks, wings and necks make particularly flavourful soup stock.

                                              Bibi, I'd love a cross-cultural topic about your ESL teaching experiences and food comments, and similar situations, if ever you should want to start one.

                                              1. re: lagatta

                                                Yikes, I wrote a long reply to you and it didn't post for some reason. Bottom line, I don't have that many detailed conversations with my students about food. The turkey thing comes up every year though.

                                              1. re: mrbigshotno.1

                                                Dear God. Don't think I'll ever eat again.

                                              2. Nope, I love turkey. You could sway me with a prime rib on thanksgiving, but I'd have to cook a turkey soon afterward.

                                                Just don't try to pass off a ham as Thanksgiving dinner.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: EWSflash

                                                  I too love turkey. Granted, I grew up on fresh turkey as a kid many years ago.--mom never bought frozen. And now in this age of factory farms, the turkey is picked up by my BIL on Tuesday and was alive on Monday at a local Amish farm. And yes, he is a much better cook than my sister--it's moist, it's juicy and it's well-seasoned.

                                                2. How is it that your kids (now adults) crave a green bean casserole? Mine wouldn't know what it is....

                                                  1. If you do the cooking and it sounds like you do, then cook what you want! Please. They'll get over it. Or they won't. This is not world peace. It's one meal. If you don't like turkey, fix something else. Please :)

                                                    5 Replies
                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                      Amen. It's the day that matters. I'd have mom's tomato and onion sandwiches and we'd all have a great time just being together.

                                                      1. re: gaffk

                                                        Bourbon Red Heritage Turkey........Not bad at all!!!!!!

                                                        1. re: ospreycove

                                                          Every year we have "Amish Turkey." Not funny, just chuckleworthy, as we doubt the turkey has any religious inclinations. We just know it's farm fresh and killed the day before it's sold.

                                                          Bourbon may add that secret brining ingredient of which my BIL boasts.

                                                          1. re: gaffk

                                                            Gaffk.....I am sure theat Bourbon added to the brine would produce a favorable taste; but in this case "Bourbon Red"(heritage) is the name of a turkey that is making a comeback as an alternative to the ubiquitous "Beltsville Broad Breasted White,successor to the Beltsville Small White. In any event, A properly roasted Turkey of any variety is fine with me!!!!

                                                            1. re: ospreycove

                                                              Yes, I was trying to be funny. Guess I failed in the attempt.