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Is the traditional Thanksgiving the most overrated food holiday?


Yes, says me.

Seriously, who the hell really likes turkey?

No one, outside of Thanksgiving and maybe Xmas, ever says, "Hey, lets go out for some Turkey tonight!" Or "This is a special occasion, I want me some big bird turkey!"

No, of course not. People say those things about steak ("I want to celebrate at a steakhouse"), or seafood ("I'm looking for the best fish n chips" etc.), or even chicken (e.g. "I want to find a great roast chicken").

But turkey? No way.

I mean if the traditional Thanksgiving dinner was so great, why isn't it a common item on menus?

Why aren't there dedicated Turkey Restaurants, like there are for seafood, chicken, or even hot dogs?

And how many posts do you see on local Chowhound boards asking for "The Best Turkey Dinner in your City"?

I mean, c'mon, without gravy, mashed spuds, and whatever else to make that darn overstuffed bird palatable, who would really enjoy turkey?

  1. I agree. You can keep yer turkey, sweet potato casserole, jellied cranberry , and green bean casserole.

    I'm happy to just have stuffing, mashed potatoes, and gravy. I'd much prefer a lovely prime rib roast instead of turkey!

    1. I used to think turkey was a horrible, dry meat and I could never understand the appeal. I actually hated turkey, too. Until one year we had a very small Thanksgiving of just me and my husband and instead of buying the usual giant frozen turkey I bought a FRESH leg-thigh piece and baked it like a chicken for just around and hour. It was sooo succulent and juicy. The flavor was amazing. I realized that freshness made all the difference.

      I also love gravy, mashed potatoes, roasted sweet potatoes, fresh bread, cranberry sauce and STUFFING is the best part. Oh, and pies for dessert (note the plural). Thanksgiving is my favorite national holiday. It's not always up to me what type of turkey I will be having on Thanksgiving day because it depends on what the plans are in terms of whether we are hosting or invited or what I am assigned to cook. Last year we were a large party and we had a rice stuffed smoked turducken (farm fresh birds) and let me tell you that the meat had a smoke ring, it was deee-licious, every single layer. But regular old frozen ball turkey with the plastic wrapper, I do avoid that if at all possible.

      1. For the last two years, I've had my in-laws over for Thanksgiving dinner, and made a beautiful turkey using Alton Brown's brining recipe. I make challah rolls from scratch, my wife and I make a pumpkin chiffon pie, and the in-laws bring traditional green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, and sometimes a Honey-Baked ham too. I enjoy cooking, and hardly ever get to cook for them, so even though it's a bit of an ass-grinder, I always look forward to the challenge.

        However, this year, everyone has requested that I make buffalo burgers for Thanksgiving instead, and have a variety of chips available. I was surprised, but if that's what everyone wants, that's what I will do. My wife has raved about my buffalo burgers (served on King's Hawaiian rolls) to her parents, and they've never tried buffalo before. It'll be a lot easier, and I think deep down, people would rather have really good burgers and chips than the standard turkey dinner. At least I plan to make a Momofuku Milk Bar crack pie for dessert, to put SOME effort into things.

        1. No.
          And I've been to many restaurants that serve turkey. My favorite school lunch is turkey in gravy (they roast the turkeys, then cube the meat, it's not from a can). I buy several turkeys when they are cheap to have throughout the year. I like to grill the thighs and legs and make it into enchiladas, and roast the breasts in lemon olive oil, oregano, rosemary. Lots of folks love turkey sandwiches, too.
          I'm going to roast a turkey this weekend for our son to have while my husband and I go to my folks' place in another state. Son has to stay here to play some concerts, so I'll make up the turkey and lots of gravy, put it in serving sizes and put it in the freezer for him.

          5 Replies
          1. re: wyogal

            I'm another one who cooks turkey parts throughout the year -- We particularly like braised turkey legs in soups and stew throughout the cold months.

            I think there are pretty rational answers to most of your questions:

            >>Seriously, who the hell really likes turkey?
            -- a lot of us.

            No one, outside of Thanksgiving and maybe Xmas, ever says, "Hey, lets go out for some Turkey tonight!" Or "This is a special occasion, I want me some big bird turkey!"

            -- roasting a whole bird is a lot of work, yes -- and most folks mentally just keep it as the centrepiece for a holiday -- you could ask the same question about Champagne. Most folks wouldn't dream of drinking Champagne unless there was a wedding, birth, engagement, graduation, or some other celebration...and there are those who would say "who really likes it anyway?" But yet there are plenty of people who drink it regularly.

            I mean if the traditional Thanksgiving dinner was so great, why isn't it a common item on menus?
            --see above (and there ARE plenty of places that serve roast turkey)

            Why aren't there dedicated Turkey Restaurants, like there are for seafood, chicken, or even hot dogs?

            -- How many seafood places focus on just one kind of seafood? How many chicken places are there that DON'T focus on fried chicken? (and even then...gosh -- mashed potatoes, gravy....)

            And how many posts do you see on local Chowhound boards asking for "The Best Turkey Dinner in your City"?
            -- because, as above, it's mentall just a holiday dish...and most folks make their own turkey dinner (and there are PLENTY of posts right now asking about sourcing birds and pre-made Tgiving dinners)

            I mean, c'mon, without gravy, mashed spuds, and whatever else to make that darn overstuffed bird palatable, who would really enjoy turkey?
            -- come to my house next week -- good roasted turkey IS possible -- fresh, preferably free-range -- turkey doesn't have to be cottony, dry, OR tasteless.

            1. re: sunshine842

              But there are dedicated turkey restaurants... http://www.turkeyville.com/

              To the OP: I order turkey sandwiches if the menu notes it is made from an in house cooked turkey. I also order hot turkey sandwiches when they are on the menu, also noting they roast the turkey in the restaurant...

              As noted in many posts, especially this year, it all depends on how you prepare the turkey. I buy frozen turkey during the year, after I use up the free/really inexpensive ones I get at the store now, since it is still less expensive than...just about everything in the grocery store. The whole turkey makes at least four hot meals, two cold meals and a meal of soup. For the two of us.

              1. re: Cathy

                I love Thanksgiving and all the foods associated with it. I think the turkey, giblet gravy, stuffing, green beans with sliced almonds, soft rolls, jello salad with port wine and bing cherries, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, mince pie are all great. And there are certainly a lot of other traditional Thanksgiving foods which I have not mentioned. I guess with the critics here, we just have to agree to disagree.

                Cathy, I placed this as a reply to your posting because I wanted to add another restaurant that specializes in turkey, although, Sunshine842, I will admit that they are rare. There is a restaurant in Valparaiso, Indiana, about 50 miles southeast of Chicago, called the "Strongbow Turkey Inn," which has specialized in turkey (and I believe raises its own turkeys) since at least the 1950s. I would give you the link but my computer incompetence prevents me from doing so. Anyway, you can find it on Google in about five seconds. The food is very good.

              2. re: sunshine842

                ">>Seriously, who the hell really likes turkey?
                -- a lot of us."

                No damn kidding. I for one am a huge fan.

                1. re: EWSflash

                  +1. Cook 'em all year, usually roasting them on the BBQ in the summer. GREAT salads.....

            2. Hey, I love roast turkey. One reason it isn't fixed more is that turkeys are so damn big;
              roasting one is a major undertaking. I've never understood why breeders haven't
              come up with a capon-sized bird.

              1. I have never enjoyed the actual food of Thanksgiving, other than the rolls, pies, and a good salad or vegetable dish. I just don't love the stuff that makes it traditional. My 10-year-old daughter loves a turkey dinner, will frequently request turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, etc., so I guess different strokes. In fact, so much so that another mom and I are making and serving a turkey dinner for her 5th grade class next Wednesday.

                I've come to really treasure the traditions and special-ness of the day so that more than offsets my indifference towards the actual food. And the calories I save on Thanksgiving Day will be put to good use in the weeks to follow as Christmas approaches.

                1. I have no idea what you're talking about. Roast turkey is fu┬ęking delicious, and the leftovers are even better. You should've tasted the turkey pot pies and turkey pasties I made after thanksgiving. They were outrageously good.

                  I only eat turkey twice a year and it's a bloody shame. But the things are just so damn big and I can only get fresh ones at thanksgiving and christmas.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: SnackHappy

                    This. It's not that people don't like turkey, it's their size. A roated chicken will last my wife and I 3 meals. A whole turkey will go bad before we can eat it all. You need a bunch of mouths to do a turkey. You also rarely see the meal prepared in a restaurant the way it is at home. It's very much a home made affair with trimmings that are unique to each family that prepares it.

                    This year I am making a porchetta. A skin on porkbelly wrapped around a trimmed loin. I've never made one and am really looking forward to it. And yet when I walk through the store the urge to buy a one of those giant Fresh Young Turkeys is nearly irresistable. Tradiotion baby!


                    1. re: JuniorBalloon

                      im makin turketta for our main dish! same thing but with the turkey haha

                      1. re: mattstolz

                        That is funny. Will you be deboning the turkey? One of the ways this is made in Italy is to take a whole side of pork, belly, ribs and loin, You then carefully remove the ribs and spine so you have the Loin attached and roll it up as one piece. not easy to get someone to sell you that where I live, but would have been intersting. Good luck with your turketta.


                        1. re: JuniorBalloon

                          yes im definitely planning on de-skinning and de-boning myself. been lookin forward to trying it for weeks!

                      1. re: SnackHappy

                        I hated turkey until I met Mrs. Sippi. What I found out was I hated my mom's turkey. Mrs. Sippi's family smokes their birds and they're , as you put it "fu@king delicious."

                        I sometimes smoke turkeys just because. I freeze some of the meat and use it as needed.

                        So clearly if you hate turkey it's just because you haven't had good turkey. Or weird.


                      2. Turkey is too special to serve more than once or twice a year. As is the Smithfield Ham we usually have along with it. And the prime rib. and the 4 different kinds of dressings. And all of the stuff that I don't even know the name of now that our family has become intertwined with my brothers' in-laws family from Colombia...

                        None of it is over rated. And it is really the most special holiday of all!

                        1 Reply
                        1. The short answer is no.

                          The long answer is:

                          Turkey gets no respect because it is one of the least expensive, most widely eaten foods in the world, there are virtually no religious or other cultural dietary restrictions against it, it's easy to prepare in a variety of ways and it's very easy to screw up if you don't know what you're doing. I happen to love it and so does my family. Our biggest problem is finding whole birds year-round; we stock up this time of year and do a whole bird every couple of months. I have eighty or so Turkey dishes in my repertoire; some utilize leftovers and others require fresh birds, either broken down or whole.

                          I can disjoint a thirty pound Tom in under two minutes.

                          There are several restaurants around the country that specialize in Turkey or feature Turkey as their main attraction -- I can provide you a list and links if you want -- and many, many others that feature "Thanksgiving on a plate" as a daily item and sell out every day (just watch the gaifyeddy show on FN if you want to see a few). Boston Market and Honeybaked Ham are just two examples of National Chains that feature Roast Turkey and Gravy on their daily menus year-round.

                          People don't necessarily go out for it on a special occasion because -- for most of the country -- it is about home and love and comfort, not about impressing people with how much you can spend.

                          For me and many other folks, the bird is the highlight of the holiday and Thanksgiving is the best culinary day of the year, food snobs notwithstanding.

                          [By the way, only 31% of annual Turkey consumption is during the holidays. Average per capita Turkey consumption in the US in 2009 was 17 pounds (about 6 billion pounds total). It is the #4 protein choice among Americans. So someone likes it. (Stats from the National Turkey Federation)]

                          1. For me, the glory of Thanksgiving is turkey gravy. One of the best foods in the world that you pretty much have to make yourself.

                            I'd also like to add that where I live, Washington DC, there are a few lunch spots that carve fresh-roasted turkey everyday. If you work near one, it is pretty much a staple.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Steve

                              I, unfortunately have relatives that insist on making giblet gravy that involves cream of chicken soup. It is revolting. I like to take all the icky stuff out the day before and make a stock overnight in the crockpot. I strain it and skim it. I make a gravy with the turkey dripping and stock.

                              I think BAD Thanksgiving food is overrated, except green bean casserole. We all have our "bad" favorites.

                              1. re: sisterfunkhaus

                                My condolences about the gravy, sisterfunk- we grill our turkey, so I have to go about collecting wings and backs and necks beforehand to make stock for the gravy, and anybody who even suggests i put a can of cream of xxx soup is going to be bodily ejected. Agree with you about the green bean casserole, though- fresh all the way around or canned, I like them all. I do use fresh steamed green beans, sauteed brown mushrooms in bechamel , and a lot of nutmeg, but I use the canned onions. So sue me.

                            2. i think the problem is that turkey isnt nearly as practical as, say, a good new york strip or filet is to make on a normal day. My family makes a 20# turkey every year, and besides taking like 4-5 hours to cook and prep, it makes A TON of food. We WILL make turkey breasts other days of the year though, because it really is delicious!

                              and as for mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, roasted veg, fallish soups and pies... those are all things we make all the time as well.

                              but there are plenty of dishes that people make on special occasions that they dont eat year round. how often do you make a country ham? or a crown roast? or roast a whole pig? but does that mean those things arent amazingly delicious?? no way!

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: mattstolz

                                Wow- we cook our turkey on the Weber charcoal grill, cooks a 20-pounder in an hour and a half flat. I don't stuff the turkey, though., It's served on the side.

                                1. re: EWSflash

                                  That's really fast, 7 pound chickens take that long in a 425 degree oven and they come out perfect.

                              2. No.

                                PS: There are dedicated turkey restaurants in New England (fewer than there used to be due to sprawl, not lack of clientele) and they are mobbed.

                                1. You've never been in mid-Michigan, I take it?

                                  Cornwell's Turkeyville:


                                  1 Reply
                                  1. I think Turkey is great meal if cooked proper. I made it a couple of different way over the years. Last year I made a herb butter and put that under the skin and also put some applewood smk bacon on the breast....yummy. the biggest key is not to over cook it and to keep it moist. Other times to make the day easier, (more prep ahead of time), I would de bone the turkey and roll and tie it. the best thing about this is that it cooks quick and stays really moist, down side, no presentation of the whole bird to the table before you carve it, I can live with that for a moist meal. try it out, and I love all the sides that go with it.

                                    1. No.
                                      I love it all.

                                      1. There is a whole chain of turkey restaurants in the Chicago area - "Just Turkey". Their website is, I must admit, fairly frightening, but the food is decent.


                                        1. Another turkey lover here. During the year, I will cook turkey, if I can find a small one. I love not too far from a turkey farm, and go there all the time for turkey tips, turkey pie and turkey sausage. I host Thanksgving every year- but last year I was really ill, and got out of the hospital after major surgery just before Thanksgiving, so could not do it. I really missed it, as did the rest of the family who also join us. This year, we are back to normal- 26 coming for dinner. Have two large fresh birds on order, went to the Wilson Farms this am and picked up all of the produce, the fruit for a large fruit centerpiece, and the fruit for my pies. Off to the grocery store later for a large shopping order ( ten loaves of bread for the stuffing!). have already made a trip to Trader Joes for a lot of gluten free stuff, as we have 5 celiacs in the family. We all love our turkey dinner, and Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday ( though I do love Christmas Eve at my brothers, with the 7 fishes feast)

                                          1. I think Thanksgiving is the best food holiday, because it's the one most closely tied to harvest (maybe I should mention it's tied to the harvest in Canada, since Cdn Thanksgiving takes place on the 1st Monday of October). It's when local cauliflower, pumpkins, squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes, broccol, onions, apples, pears and grapes are freshest.

                                            I usually roast a goose or duck for Canadian Thanksgiving, since the whole fresh turkeys have been so big lately, and I don't like having leftovers for more than a couple days. Not everyone is tied to turkey for Thanksgiving, and traditional Thanksgiving for me is about the stuffing, sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie, more than it's about roast turkey.

                                            That being said, a lot of people in Canada, or at least in Ontario, like roasted turkey so much that they roast turkey for Christmas dinner, and roast another turkey for Easter, to serve as an option to the ham or lamb. It's thought of as year-round holiday food, not just Thanksgiving food.

                                            The next best food holiday for me is Mardi Gras, followed by Easter, then Christmas Eve, then Christmas Day.

                                            I eat turkey year-round- as schnitzel, Italian sausage, in chilis. I cook turkey as frequently as I cook chicken, so I guess I'm one of those Chowhounds who really likes turkey.

                                            1. I love turkey. They are so big and take forever too cook, so I don't cook turkeys except at Thanksgiving. I have been to places that have turkey and gravy on the menu and have ordered it a few times, but in all honesty, I like to save it for Thanksgiving so it tastes extra special. Since I don't eat it year round, I look forward to it more.

                                              1. Thanksgiving for me is all about comfort food, not sure why you think that's a bad thing. We don't eat the green bean casserole, but many love it. Love turkey several times a year, and that's what makes it special. Would I order turkey at a restaurant? No. Just one of those things you make at home, I rarely order chicken at a restaurant either.

                                                1. One more year-round turkey eater here. Love the thigh, marinated and braised. Love the whole bird if done right, but it is too much meat to have around for one small family. Not all that much work if done simply. I just stick it in the Weber kettle, feeding the coals once during cooking, comes out moist and properly done throughout.

                                                  What's special about Thanksgiving as we used to do it is the family aspect and the sharing, but since almost everyone has left town it's different.

                                                  A better question would be "Who really likes Christmas goose?" Anybody at all?

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: Akitist

                                                    Well, the fat and the skin are luscious. The bits of meat are pretty good. And the carcass makes a great stock. The only problem is that you really have to treat the meat as a condiment rather than as a main in the way that turkey is....

                                                    1. re: Karl S

                                                      Karl, I've been wondering that for years. Thank you for saying that.

                                                  2. I love mashed potatoes and stuffing and cranberry sauce, even if the latter is jellied and comes out of a can.

                                                    I like turkey. I just am not fond of turkey breast. It's the same way that I am not particularly fond of chicken breast but cook chicken often.

                                                    The most overrated food holiday is the Fourth of July, when people traditionally hit the grill. Yawn.

                                                    1. Yes.

                                                      Also please skip the mashed spuds, sweet potato (ugg), "gravy", stuffing, etc etc.

                                                      Roast lamb or roast duck, that sounds so much better.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: huiray

                                                        If I was invited to Tgiving and all that was served was lamb or duck I would be devastated. Different strokes.

                                                        1. re: laliz

                                                          Oh, there would be greens, probably a soup, vegetables, some kind of carbohydrate or two, another protein perhaps, alcohol, etc. Just not the roast whole turkey - sweet potato - green bean casserole - mashed spuds - thick gravy - etc stuff.

                                                          I guess you will be unlikely to be a guest at my place for Thanksgiving. Different strokes.

                                                      2. Perhaps one should look at Thanksgiving as not really a gourmet food holiday, but rather a traditional family gathering and yes, people do eat when they get together. Turkey is a meaty cheap bird and it is perfect for that.
                                                        Sure, everyone tries to do their best to prepare a nice dinner and we all have a good time sampling different dishes, but the star of the day are the family members. It has been some years that I didn't eat with a baby on my knees, which also tries to feed me!! @-@ My daughter does Thanksgiving nowadays/ she does mostly the Turkey and we all bring different dishes which she specifically asks for. It is a very different menu every year.

                                                        23 Replies
                                                        1. re: RUK

                                                          I agree that the beauty and charm of Thanksgiving is the gathering of family and friends.

                                                          The romanticization of turkey is the result of getting caught in the back-draft that is the beauty of family gatherings.

                                                          1. re: ipsedixit

                                                            If nobody REALLY likes turkey, why do so many people cook and eat turkey year-round and not just at Thanksgiving and Christmas? Why do so many people cook and eat turkey at Thanksgiving for that matter, if in fact nobody really likes it?

                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                              >>>>If nobody REALLY likes turkey, why do so many people cook and eat turkey year-round and not just at Thanksgiving and Christmas?

                                                              Really? People eat turkey as deli meat, yes, but cook a whole bird? Year-round? You'd be hard pressed to find a butterball in grocer's freezer aisle in the middle March.

                                                              >>>>>Why do so many people cook and eat turkey at Thanksgiving for that matter, if in fact nobody really likes it?


                                                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                Where do you live where you cannot buy a whole, frozen turkey year-round? Every grocery store in Minnesota has a frozen food section with frozen turkey, ducks, geese, capons, cornish game hens, etc. They also have frozen steaks, hamburger pattiies, etc. We cook whole turkeys probably 5 times a year but only buy them maybe a couple times a year when they go one sale, like right now.

                                                                If nobody actually liked eating turkey tradition would not be enough to keep them cooking and eating it.

                                                                1. re: John E.

                                                                  If nobody actually liked eating turkey tradition would not be enough to keep them cooking and eating it.

                                                                  I give you ... fruitcake.

                                                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                    Why are you giving me fruitcake?

                                                                    1. re: John E.

                                                                      So you can enjoy it with your turkey.

                                                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                        Would you rather have fruitcake with turkey, or mooncakes?

                                                                    2. re: ipsedixit

                                                                      What's wrong with fruitcake? Why do you hate all holiday foods? Non-industrial fruitcakes made with quality ingredients are a wonderful treat.

                                                                      As a kid, I only ever ate dry flavourless turkey and crappy supermarket fruitcake. When I started making turkey myself, I realized just how delicious it could be. Same thing when I had my first homemade fruitcake.

                                                                      I think it's just easy to denigrate these foods, because they can be so crappy sometimes and because we can have conflicted feelings about the holidays.

                                                                      Blanket statements about food are no better than blanket statements about politics, religion or anything else.

                                                                      1. re: SnackHappy

                                                                        I agree with you completely -- good fruitcake is a thing of beauty...mediocre fruitcake is a doorstop.

                                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                                          Yes, dismissing fruitcake because most of them are bad, is like dismissing burgers because of McDonald's.

                                                                            1. re: SnackHappy

                                                                              One of my neighbors LOVES fruitcake. She swears that Stop N Shop makes the best one. Oh boy...
                                                                              eta: A&P, not Stop n Shop (if it makes a hell of a difference hehe)

                                                                    3. re: ipsedixit

                                                                      You're right - -not many people cook **whole birds** year-round. But millions of people roast breasts, fry wings, braise legs, eat turkey sandwiches, ground turkey, etc., etc., etc.

                                                                      Turkey is not some bizarre food that only gets eaten once a year -- it makes a regular appearance on the table of an awful lot of people -- just usually not in whole form.

                                                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                        Most people don't make, say, a crown rib multiple times a year either. It's a special occasion food. But no one is extrapolating that to say "who really likes cow?"

                                                                        I make a whole turkey a few times a year, and a turkey breast a few more. We have sliced turkey and turkey sausage with some regularity. I try ground turkey sometimes, although I'm coming to accept that it's not my favorite. I really like roast turkey, but I'm not about to take on 8 hours of brining, stuffing, and cooking on a weekly basis. Not to mention that, as others have said, they're generally large and best suited to an occasion with quite a few guests.

                                                                        I think your question is maybe off-target in the first place-Thanksgiving is really the only food holiday in this country. People get together and eat at Christmas, Easter, and the Fourth of July, but there is no one standard meal for these days. For Thanksgiving, if you happen not to like turkey (which is fine) you tend to get stuck with it anyway because it is so ubiquitous. Which causes small but vocal backlash. There's nothing wrong with going a different direction if you're the cook.

                                                                        1. re: ErnieD

                                                                          Crown rib....now there's an overrated holiday food that I despise.

                                                                          1. re: FoodPopulist

                                                                            Really? I'll gladly take it off your hands.

                                                                        2. re: ipsedixit

                                                                          Uh, no. You can find frozen turkeys year round. I also eat turkey burgers and ground turkey. You can also find turkey sausage. I frequently buy turkey tenderloins. If I could find turkey pieces, specifically turkey thighs, I'd eat them year round too.

                                                                          1. re: sueatmo

                                                                            Turkey thighs, drumsticks, wings and breasts are in our local supermarket cases year-round (Boston area). Thighs are especially prized, of course.

                                                                            1. re: Karl S

                                                                              Really? I love turkey thighs and judging by availability, I'm the only one in the San Francisco Bay Area who does. They are so versatile. I buy them whenever I can, and I am the only one buying them.

                                                                          2. re: ipsedixit

                                                                            I got a Turduckhen for $5 in July 2010. There were five left in the freezer and I guess the store Manager wanted the space.

                                                                            1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                              Wrong- it's because it's really delicious. If it was 'only' tradition people would eat ham or something. It's not easy to find a nice leg of lamb at Thanksgiving.

                                                                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                We make turkey a couple of times a year, but never a butterball. We buy fresh turkeys this time if year and freeze them; we have one around Feb or so to cheer up everyone in mid winter and we always barbeque one memorial day. We love them.
                                                                                We also braise legs once or twice a year.

                                                                        3. Thanksgiving is cool. It brings family members together around a huge table with the express purpose of pigging out.

                                                                          Lots of thought goes into this most American of holidays: Whole bird? If so, frozen, free range or pedigreed? Turkey breast and thighs can be a mighty attractive alternative. Brining is always an option but salinity is subjective and must be viewed as part of a whole. Deep frying? Haven't gone there.

                                                                          Turkey, to me, is only a part of the whole. A wine toast to start, maybe some good words to follow. A few oysters on the half shell draw attention to the meal, a killer lobster bisque to follow. Turkey, stuffing, root vegetables, potatoes, gravy and bread make for a Rockwell painting. More wine. Dessert is best made by a guest. The house smells great, football is always on the panel.

                                                                          Thanksgiving is a team holiday: The turkey take a great deal of time and thought; sides, etc. require many hands; dessert is best left to others. Apps and soup are equal players with the bird. The wine selections should never be left to an amateur.

                                                                          My favorite part of Thanksgiving occurs when everyone leaves and my wife has fallen asleep. I pour myself a vintage port or cognac and finish the cleanup, satisfied with the meal and happy that Thanksgiving only comes around once a year.

                                                                          20 Replies
                                                                          1. re: steve h.

                                                                            Beautiful, and everything always tastes better to me on this day than any other. It doesn't have to be about bad 50's food, but comfort food prepared in a good way. Not necessarily food that is too traditional either.

                                                                            1. re: steve h.

                                                                              But why turkey? Is it "because that's what it is supposed to be", "that's what I grew up with", "Nostalgic Reminiscences", or what? Why not a Rib Roast, or Lamb, or even a couple of big chickens, or Roast Pork, etc etc etc? Is there a USAmerican subconscious attachment to that infamous Norman Rockwell painting of that big bird? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Fre...

                                                                              Oh, BTW it is thought to be doubtful that turkey was served at the "First Thanksgiving". The record says "wild fowl" was eaten, but "turkey" was never called out as an item, let alone the "featured" item.

                                                                              1. re: huiray

                                                                                Because turkey was, until after World War II, a dear item compared to beef, veal or pork. (During World War II, soldier's rations stateside were mostly veal covered with a slice of turkey breast - veal was relatively affordable byproduct of dairying in those days.) And lamb was never in season in November in the US until globalization. Anyway, turkeys are not like chickens (though chickens too were dear - Sabbath food dear - until after WW2, too), which are efficient for eggs - you raise a turkey, you're gonna slaughter it before winter to avoid spending $$$ on feed and shelter for the winter (think of turkeys as the pigs of the landlubber poultry world - though it's ducks that are the real pigs of the poultry world). So, for the many generations when Thanksgiving traditions were becoming national in this culture, turkey was a special thing that made seasonal sense at Thanksgiving (pigs, also slaughtered in November, were cheap and better processed into cured products that would last through the winter). Once that became a liminal association, the ritual nature of the day meant that it would be passed on to succeeding generations. It's very difficult to change such traditions once they are set.

                                                                                1. re: Karl S

                                                                                  That's interesting. Thanks for the feedback.
                                                                                  I wonder - perhaps it might be useful for folks to consider where their attachment to that big bird comes from as well.

                                                                                  1. re: huiray

                                                                                    Not particularly. Rituals are by their nature not so much a product of self-awareness, but of transcending self-awareness.

                                                                                    As has been noted in myriad TG threads on these boards for over a decade, it's one thing if one is starting new TG rituals with one's own children, and no other guests. But, once you have other guests who bring the culture-wide liminal associations with them to the table, you play with those at your own peril (generally, the experienced advice is to add-to, rather than replace....)

                                                                                    1. re: Karl S


                                                                                      However, speaking for myself I've been around these parts for many, many years and still consider that this attachment to that big bird as an adherence to perceived tradition in the National Mythology as formed only in the last several generations or so as, uh, 'interesting'. Whether guests with such attachments are present or not.

                                                                                      1. re: Karl S

                                                                                        "it's one thing if one is starting new TG rituals with one's own children, and no other guests."

                                                                                        So nicely said, we serve traditional and non-traditional foods. I can understand people not liking the vegetables of the harvest, but why not prepare them in a non traditional manner or pick other vegetables? So many choices.

                                                                                      2. re: huiray

                                                                                        Consider also that turkey takes a long time to roast, which means having your oven on for long periods of time, warming up the house. Not exactly something that's going to sound a treat during the dog days of summer. Add to that air conditioning in homes is a relatively recent luxury and you can easily see why we treat turkey as a "fall" or "winter" food - my in-laws used to cook a turkey for both Thanksgiving and Christmas.

                                                                                      3. re: Karl S

                                                                                        I wonder if there's also a bit of the melting pot going on at the same time -- lots of first or second generation immigrants who would probably serve "their" traditional food at Christmas or Easter, but wholeheartedly embraced this new American feast as a sign that they were a part of it. Assimilation was really important in the early part of the 20th century.

                                                                                        Of course, that didn't stop the odd item like a tray of baked ziti, lasagna or kielbasa and kraut or pierogie from sneaking on to the table.

                                                                                      4. re: huiray

                                                                                        Perhaps the Pilgrims didn't have Chinese restaurants nearby? :-)

                                                                                        Since editing seems to be a wonderful thing as just evidenced upstream -
                                                                                        In addition one might perhaps look at the ratio of meat to bone in different kind of birds, should one consider Chicken, Duck, Goose etc. I would think a bird like a large Turkey has a most favorable meat to bone ratio, which makes it economical to feed a large crowd. It would be simply unpractical to roast say 10 Ducks in a regular oven versus a 20 pound Turkey.

                                                                                        1. re: RUK

                                                                                          You don't want the Chinese food in Plimoth or Cape Cod.

                                                                                          1. re: RUK

                                                                                            So do a roast pork loin.

                                                                                            10 ducks? How many persons per (about 4-5 lb) duck?

                                                                                            Is your 20 lb turkey stripped to the bone at the TG meal, or do you have leftovers?

                                                                                            1. re: huiray

                                                                                              How about you do the math or perhaps visualize the scenario? :-)

                                                                                              Btw I bring the Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta and caramelized Onions, and I am in charge of the Cheese platter...

                                                                                              1. re: RUK

                                                                                                I'm genuinely asking. I don't *really* know how many folks are at your Thanksgiving celebration, nor how heartily they eat, children included, and whether that 20 lb bird is the main "meat" and whether you have leftovers with that 20 lb bird [indicating you don't need all 20 lb of it] etc. Besides, duck meat is also very rich (if one were to serve duck) compared with turkey, would your folks eat "as much" or be satisfied with less by comparison with turkey. Or pork. I don't really know the tastes of *all* your folks. If 10 ducks were truly what would be needed, then sure, I agree it would be impractical. :-)

                                                                                                1. re: huiray

                                                                                                  I searched for a list of different poultry and their respective meat-to-bone ratio, I didn't find it. Perhaps you might be more successful googling, as I ran out of time here.
                                                                                                  Now thinking a bit more about it, 7 average size Ducks (feeding ca 14 people) would probably be about equivalent to a 20 pound Turkey, and the latter would have still leftovers.
                                                                                                  I can fit a 20-22 pound Turkey into my oven, the 7 Ducks would however not fit.

                                                                                                  1. re: RUK

                                                                                                    Duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck..... goose! Will that fit?

                                                                                                    I agree, the turkey fits nicely.

                                                                                                    1. re: Cheez62

                                                                                                      Here is an interesting (well, maybe not) bit of trivia...everywhere across the country little kids play 'Duck, Duck, Goose' except in Minnesota (and possibly close to its borders) where the game played is 'Duck, Duck, Grey Duck'.

                                                                                          2. re: huiray

                                                                                            Hi huiray,
                                                                                            Turkey is pretty traditional for Thanksgiving. There are 364 other days in the year to worry a menu.
                                                                                            To paraphrase an old editor friend of mine, "There are no boring turkey meals, only boring cooks." We keep working the bird thing.

                                                                                            1. re: steve h.

                                                                                              What does "traditional" here mean? What you grew up with? I think Karl S brings some insight into this, assuming he is correct in the relative worth of the meats concerned when the National Mythology was being formed.

                                                                                              1. re: huiray

                                                                                                Tradition, by definition, is what we grow up with.
                                                                                                At the end of the day, Thanksgiving is primarily a family thing, after all we are giving thanks, and the turkey is secondary. I have no problem with tradition. Turkey, in the hands of a skilled cook, can be a mighty-fine dish. I'm sure salmon would work just as well but I'll go old school.

                                                                                        2. Thanksgiving isn't a food holiday; it's an eating holiday. In my mind, there's a big difference.

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: Isolda

                                                                                            I sort of agree.

                                                                                            What do you consider to be a food holiday?

                                                                                          2. Passover has to rank up there. Overcooked brisket, gefilte fish and tsimmis are things I can live without for the rest of the year.

                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: whs

                                                                                              No way--I love Passover food. I could eat matzo and haroset all day long. I'm not a big fan of brisket either (not to mention gefilte fish), but matzo ball soup, a nice roast chicken, and flourless chocolate torte--perfect.

                                                                                              As for Thanksgiving, it's a harvest celebration, so why people in Santa Fe (or wherever) are eating turkey is a mystery to me. Here in New England, we're stuck with it, but I like the challenge of an all-local meal (I make my cranberry sauce with maple syrup and apple cider.)

                                                                                              1. re: whs

                                                                                                oh man gefilte fish is just disgusting. eww eww eww

                                                                                                1. re: whs

                                                                                                  but perfectly cooked brisket is divine. I love gefilte fish made fresh and we eat variations of tzimmes all winter

                                                                                                2. Absolutely, ITA that it's over rated.

                                                                                                  My family raves about our TG meal, and my daughter is even taking the day off of her vegetarian diet to eat the full spread. But it isn't my favorite meal by a long shot. I eat it that day and like it, but the husband and kids are the only ones devouring the leftovers.

                                                                                                  1. WHOA..........IPSE started this discussion and now has run away?????? me thinks he/she is just a s*it stirer.........................
                                                                                                    For me Turkey is a top protein on my list. I love the way the Italians in Spoleto slice through a giant thigh and serve it as a bone- in" cotoletta di Tacchino alla milanese" , etc.Turkey is much more appreciated in Italy, (Umbria) than it is in the U>S> as a tear round source of delicious meat!!!

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: ospreycove

                                                                                                      Just ipse being ipse dixit.

                                                                                                      Edited to add: Leftovers with gravy and homemade cranberry sauce are good, turkey sandwiches on white bread are killer good.

                                                                                                    2. Turkey subs/ sandwiches are extremely poplular. Go out to lunch with someone and odds are ( particularly young guys..if they are health conscious) they will order a turkey sandwich/sub. Turkey cold cuts are very popular and possibly ubiquitous. Turkey is perceived as healthy..and protein packed. I realize this is chowhound..and not a health site..but to say "who likes turkey ? " is almost laughable to me.
                                                                                                      Imagine if you could pick up a "rotisserie turkey " at the grocery store ?

                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                      1. re: rochfood

                                                                                                        At my supermarket, roasted on-the-bone (mit skin) turkey breasts and thighs sell out fast every day - faster than rotisserie chicken or roasted chicken parts.

                                                                                                      2. I like most modern roast turkey. Years ago turkey, especially white meat, could be dry. Hence we were instructed to baste often. But I like plain old fashioned modern frozen supermarket turkeys. I am not a fan of white bread stuffing, sweet potatoes sweetened to toothache proportions, or green bean casserole. But I do like most of the other usual sides. If you don't like turkey, and you are the cook, then I'd say you should cook something you like for Thanksgiving. Eating turkey on Thanksgiving is not a sacred rite or anything.

                                                                                                        1. Ah... putting together a turkey dinner is very inexpensive. $30. Feeds 6 plus leftovers.

                                                                                                          1. No. I love turkey, and I love Thanksgiving!

                                                                                                              1. re: wyogal

                                                                                                                or for all of the rest of us, who but for the grace of (insert deity here) go there....

                                                                                                              2. Chalk up another no here.
                                                                                                                First off, you asked if it is the most overrated food holiday. Thanksgiving as a whole is not just turkey, but all of the other good stuff that goes with it, so no. It is the turkey (if you like it, I guess) combined with the stuffing, the sweet potatoes, the cranberry-orange relish, the pies, etc, that make it such a great food holiday.
                                                                                                                Second, I think that there is probably turkey and gravy on plenty of restaurant menus. There may not be a lot of restaurants devoted to it, but then there are a lot of foods that I like which don't have a lot of restaurants specializing in them. I'm grilling jerk pork tonight; I'll bet that here in Canton, Ohio it would be a lot easier to find a good turkey dinner on a menu than it would be to find a good jerk pork dish. Same goes for many other dishes. Yeah, I am certainly looking forward to Thanksgiving!

                                                                                                                1. No, I think it's better than Easter. Jelly beans are better than candied yams, but turkey, gravy, and pie is better than ham, eggs, and peeps. It's mostly about gravy and crispy bird skin for me.

                                                                                                                  1. Spoken like someone who's never had Fall's answer to the glorious tomato sandwich - a leftover turkey sandwich with plenty of mayo and s&p.

                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                    1. re: shanagain

                                                                                                                      and cranberry sauce. I make cranberry sauce not for the dinner, but for the sandwiches.

                                                                                                                    2. No. I like it all, as long as it's done well, and I guess I'll have to un-invite you, sniff sniff. I wouldn't dream of asking you to stay...

                                                                                                                      1. ever ask an American who can't be home for Thanksgiving? They'll tell you.

                                                                                                                        I cook turkeys for events all year long. I cook them, chill them, then slice them and serve on a platter. People gobble (pun intended) it up.

                                                                                                                        I love turkey and often order it if I see it on the menu. However, nothing is as good as homemade.

                                                                                                                        1. GF and I like turkey, in fact we scooped up a 21lb bird on sale for $0.69/lb and threw it in the freezer for later use. It's just the two of us, we'll cook that up, eat dinner from it, eat some left overs from it, and freeze the rest. We basically just use it where we would use chicken. I find a properly cooked turkey to be just as good as a properly cooked chicken. We'll use the frozen turkey meat in a variety of soups and curries.

                                                                                                                          1. In my opinion..the Christmas meal..if you have one..is the time to be more "diverse" or "interesting" in your food offerings. Other "food holidays" have more to offer than just food. Don't like the food.. look forward to the gifts. People may serve it Christmas eve..christmas day..whatever. Or don't even have one.

                                                                                                                            The meal is the focus of Thanksgiving. Thus..the spotlighting of it. And the traditional expectations that come with it. The traditional thanksgiving meal is for better or worse... a sacred cow.

                                                                                                                            Plus..Thanksgiving being primarily an American holiday..it seems almost un American to many to stray from the food traditions and expectations of the day.

                                                                                                                            P.S. "Spoiler alert..throwdown with Bobby Flay..thankgiving ep."
                                                                                                                            It seems Bobby lost his Thanksgiving throwdown to the Pioneer woman primarily because he did not serve mashed potatoes..he went with brussels sprouts. While tasty..it didn't go over with the Oklahoma crowd.

                                                                                                                            1. An interesting read on our favorite bird for Thanksgiving.

                                                                                                                              1. Man this post is really pissing me off right now. If you live in the USA, you have an embarrassment of riches in the form of plentiful $.69 per pound frozen turkeys of which I can only dream. I am stuck in China for Thanksgiving with no turkey and no oven.

                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: RealMenJulienne

                                                                                                                                  This means you will be able to appreciate turkey much more when you finally have a chance to cook it and eat it.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Tripeler

                                                                                                                                    No doubt. Next time I am home during Thanksgiving, I'm stocking my freezer with a year's supply of loss leader turkeys for sure.

                                                                                                                                2. Thanksgiving can't be "the most overrated food holiday" if only because Thanksgiving is the ONLY "food holiday" in the US. Christmas, Easter, Mardi Gras, Fourth of July, Labor Day etc. are religious (civic religious in the case of the Fourth and Labor Day) holidays that involve food as a part of the celebration.

                                                                                                                                  8 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: ratgirlagogo

                                                                                                                                    I'm not sure I follow you.

                                                                                                                                    I can't think of a holiday that isn't associated, if not predicated on, food in some form.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                      I think what she means is that Thanksgiving is the only holiday where the primary focus is on food. Thanksgiving is all about the meal. None of the other holidays is all about the meal.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                        Maybe for some, but for many (myself included) it *is* about being thankful, and grateful.

                                                                                                                                        I could care less about what, if anything, I am eating on Thanksgiving, as long as I am with family and friends enjoying each other's company. Heck, we could be dining on Saltines and tap water and it would be just perfectly fine.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                          Do you intentionally misunderstand other's posts? I never said Thanksgiving was not about being thankful I said it was primarily about the food. I also never mentioned what food it was being presented. While 45 million turkeys will be cooked tomorrow there are lots of people that eat traditional foods from other cultures or other foods for a variety of reasons, but Thanksgiving is still mostly about the food.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                            Indeed, as you say "there are lots of people that eat traditional foods from other cultures or other foods for a variety of reasons" and one acknowledges that you mentioned it too.

                                                                                                                                            Yet for many, as evidenced on this thread, the "traditional" food [dating from relatively recent history] served at TG has acquired the status of Holy Writ and the occasion has become a Holy Day in their estimation. Ipse, from what I read, in a general sense basically disagrees with that. So do I.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                              "Holy Writ"?

                                                                                                                                              "Holy Day"?

                                                                                                                                              It's amazing to me how people, if they choose to, can let themselves be offended by anything.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                Uh, just stating how it comes across from the indignant responses from some folks.
                                                                                                                                                YMMV, as I've already said.

                                                                                                                                                Moi? I just dispense with the turkey stuff.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                  I think the responses are indignant because of the confrontational tone presented by the OP in the start of this thread and because of similar responses in agreement. If someone were to say something like " we prefer other foods at Thanksgiving so we choose to prepare a meal significantly different than what is considered normal Thanksgiving food" rather than "...who the hell really likes turkey"? I think the responses may have been different.

                                                                                                                                  2. My first thought was "yes, I don't like most of what appears on Thanksgiving dinner" but then realized, it's not the dishes but what the dishes have become as people who don't like to cook start making them, at least in my extended family

                                                                                                                                    Turkey--dry, overcooked. But, I've been to a turkey farm where you walk through the turkeys to get to the restaurant. The turkeys were perfect, not dry. If I lived closer, I'd go more often and we weren't stuck with a huge bird that took up all the space in the refrigerator.

                                                                                                                                    Mashed potatoes and gravy--I love this. But, at our meal, it's mealy potatoes, canned gravy.

                                                                                                                                    Green bean casserole--I say this is an excuse to eat those dried onions. Hold the cream of mushroom soup and just pass around the jar

                                                                                                                                    Creamed corn pudding--first bite is good, but subsequent is overly sweet But, I've made it from scratch, a more pudding, less Jiff corn muffin taste and like that creaminess.

                                                                                                                                    Stuffing--I love good stuffing, cooked in the bird. These days, people are afraid to do it and it ends up dry, or for us, out of a box.

                                                                                                                                    So, if someone were to cook this meal, someone who loved to cook, it could be amazing. But, what most people sit down isn't amazing food. My family (and I'm being nostalgic being across the country from them) are more nontraditional--last year, they had crab, ribs, home made sushi, etc. They all just made their favorite food(s) and what they cook best. Doesn't make for a coherent menu, nothing traditionally Thanksgiving, but delicious. My SIL who is with them is probably wishing she were with her more traditional extended family, just as I'd rather spend mine w/ my nontraditional family.

                                                                                                                                    OTOH, my favorite part of the meal is my MIL's eggrolls as appetizers. By the time we sit down to dinner, I'm not very hungry anyway.

                                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                      Chinese hot pot is my favorite meal at Thanksgiving.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                        That's a staple at family gatherings for us, too. It's comfort food for me.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                          It's the perfect family-gathering type of food.

                                                                                                                                    2. In a sense, you've hit on how we've distorted the whole holiday. Its original intent, IMO, giving thanks to God for the harvest, getting together with friends (pilgrims and native Americans x 3 days). Celebrating giblet gravy pales in comparison. It's a wonderful holiday, and I do get very excited about the eats. But the sacred aspects, the non-edible aspects, need to be celebrated with at least as much enthusiasm.

                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: Florida Hound

                                                                                                                                        We may associate the holiday with the Pilgrams etc., but it was the Civil War from which it was born. FWIW:

                                                                                                                                        "By the President of the United States of America.

                                                                                                                                        A Proclamation.

                                                                                                                                        The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

                                                                                                                                        In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

                                                                                                                                        Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

                                                                                                                                        By the President: Abraham Lincoln" *


                                                                                                                                        1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                          Thank you for the historical perspective! Great post! Our concept of "the first Thanksgiving" still has some documented historical associations with the Plymouth Pilgrims and the settlers at Berkley Plantation, Virginia. You and the words of President Lincoln confirm the idea that paying homage to giblet gravy or a turkey is a major leap from the original meaning. The "non-edible aspects" of the holiday should be recognized and celebrated as we reach for that second helping of Aunt Pearl's special yam casserole.
                                                                                                                                          A joyous Thanksgiving to all,
                                                                                                                                          Florida Hound

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Florida Hound

                                                                                                                                            "Our concept of "the first Thanksgiving" still has some documented historical associations with the Plymouth Pilgrims and the settlers at Berkley Plantation, Virginia."

                                                                                                                                            Indeed. Along those lines, this was interesting (in a food geeky sorta way):


                                                                                                                                      2. No, it isn't. Most Americans love the tradition, I think, or it would have died out. If the traditional menu were common in restaurants, then the traditional family gathering wouldn't be as special.

                                                                                                                                        Turkey does appear in many restaurants as a turkey club sandwich. Not as good as chickem, but inexpensive and healthy.

                                                                                                                                        Beard is not dismissive of turkey in his The New James Beard (1981), which reflects his move toward healthier eating in his later life. He wrote that he was using more turkey because of the availability of parts, allowing for proper cooking and avoiding the trouble of dealing with the whole thing at once. He offers recipes such as Turkey Saltimbocca. I haven't tried it, but I would. He also has a turkey chili. Some people eat fowl, but not beef or pork, for whatever reason. Why should they not have an alternative to vegetarian chili if they like chili?

                                                                                                                                        I am not endorsing the commercial "self-basting" turkey, however. There are non-self-basting turkeys available, and even farmed wild turkeys in some places if you are willing to go to the trouble and expense. Turkey's bad rep is just a consequence of so much overcooked breast being served for holidays, in my opinion.

                                                                                                                                        1. Hey, folks, this was kind of a hard thread to start with and it's getting more unpleasant as time goes by. We're going to lock it in the hopes that everyone can spend tomorrow giving thanks and eating whatever they find delicious, whether its turkey or something entirely different, instead of arguing about it here.