Monday, November 24, 2008

The Other Other White Meat

OK, so I'm kidding.  But tell me truthfully, do you really love Thanksgiving turkey all that much?  I must confess, I'm not a big fan.  I do like the side dishes -- the butternut squash soup, and the mashed potatoes with enough butter and whole milk in them to be a meal all by themselves.  I also am seriously addicted to mashed turnips.  No joke.  Sweet potatoes?  LOVE them.  And don't even get me started on my husband's stuffing.  I think my son would trade his right arm for that stuffing, with a little gravy.

But the turkey?  Not so much.

My problem with Thanksgiving is that it is a whole lot of work for something that none of the people in my family really likes all that much.  You see, I'm the only one who really enjoys all those side dishes.  True, my kids devour the mashed potatoes.  But nobody asks for turkey on their birthdays, when they get to choose their favorite meal.  Mostly they ask for ravioli, or baked ziti, or maybe roast beef.  I've had occasional requests for grilled chicken, and even for chicken tacos.  But never turkey.  

Back in the eighties, the humorist, Calvin Trillin, wrote a column in which he considered starting a movement to make Spaghetti Carbonara the official Thanksgiving meal.  Now I know that a lot of you are probably gasping in dismay at the very thought.  But wait.  Consider.  A pasta dish and a salad.  Maybe even an appetizer if you're feeling ambitious.  Three pots, at most.  And a couple of hours later, you don't feel as though you ate two times your body weight.  True, there may be no leftovers to snack on the next day, but I consider that a small price to pay for freedom from the tyranny of the bird.

Of course, I talk a good game, but we will be having turkey this Thanksgiving, like everybody else.  But hey, I can dream, right?


  1. Oh, Mary. Your picture and title will have me laughing all day.

    I actually do like turkey, but I really only like the white meat. I buy turkey breast during the year, and I use ground turkey frequently as a replacement for ground beef. But, I am so there with you that Thanksgiving dinner is a lot of work.

    We always have lasagna for Christmas dinner. My mother always served turkey again for Christmas dinner, but I have broken that tradition.

    Remember Ben Franklin thought the turkey should be a national bird. I really am glad that we retained the bald eagle as our national bird. The thought of soaring with eagles seems so majestic. But, maybe old Ben was right after all - because it seems we have quite a few "turkeys" soaring these days. ;-)

  2. MAry

    The thought of so many pots...I think that is what gets me! You really can't do Thanksgiving meal "ahead", and you know noone likes to help do the scrubbing!

  3. Funny story, when I was a little girl we went to an old German couples home for dinner with my grandparents. They served squirrel, no lie. I liked it so much I asked for "more of that mouse gravy" which cracked them all up, (I was only about 4 or 5) I have never had squirrel or "mouse gravy" since! I like the sides on Thanksgiving too, but I love the leftover turkey in all the things I make after that. Have a great Thanksgiving Mary:>)

  4. Mary,
    Haha - great title and picture.
    I hear you about the traditional turkey and my family has adjusted accordingly. There are several of us who could do without the turkey. Our solution - we make a turkey and a ham to make everyone happy.
    I'm wishing you and your loved ones a happy Thanksgiving,

  5. I agree. I make a tray of homemade manicotti to go with turkey dinner..and that seems to go first..along with the stuffing and mashed potatoes (enough carbs for you?) Hubby likes the turkey though..the kids dont eat much...i rarely eat far as the squirrels go..we feed them..we dont eat them :-) Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

  6. When I saw this picture and that title on my sidebar...hohohohohahaha...

    Okay, so that's just great. You're going to singlehandedly switch us from turkey to pasta. What are the turkey growers going to do? ;D

    No, I am not a great fan of turkey and I could easily switch to lasagna. Wonder if the family would go along...

  7. I like turkey. And everything else;)

  8. We have two diferent meats. My hubby is not that crazy about turkey either so we have roast beef and a turkey. (did I say he also LOVES leftovers?) Which is a very good thing with so much meat on the table.

    I am a side lady too. Love stuffing, veggies, potatoes but the meat I can do without. Oh, dinner rolls. Let's not forgot soft warm dinner rolls!

    We have 13 dishes on our menu this year. ???? Luckily I only have to make 5 of them.

    I hope you have a lovely dinner, not matter what you eat. Remember, it's all about the dishes and serving pieces anyway!
    :) Abbie

  9. cute!!..I love it all!!!...even the turkey~!!..I love getting up @ 4am & putting the huge turkey in the oven...I love mashing the potatoes...making the gravy..the relishes..the pies...the smells!!!...(the leftovers)...I LOVE setting the table..(I can just imagine what YOUR table will look like!!)'s a BIG family time for's a celebration...we read the little story 'The Day the Pilgrims thanked the Indians' son brought this 'story' home years ago when he was in preschool...he's now 30 years old!!..but we still read it!!..I can't wait until my 4 Grandsons are old enough to read the story!!'s a big deal at our don't have a choice!!.it's tradition!...have a great one!!!..Lacy

  10. I'm with you 100%! I can take it or leave it..the whole thing. This year I'm getting off easy..I'm working! No cooking, no dishes, no left over bloated feeling!

  11. I'm with you! I could do without the turkey. But then, I honestly feel that way about most meat. I love the mashed potatoes. No gravy.

    I've already started our own holiday pasta triditions. Giada's Fusilli with sausage, artichoke & sun-dried tomatoes for New Year's. Penne with asparagus & prosciutto for Easter. mmmm.

  12. Love the squirrel. I've never eaten one but I know people who have and they say it "tastes like chicken". Yeah, right.

    After thinking about it I agree. Turkey is not my favorite meat but it's just an excuse to make all those terrific side dishes. My family would be happy just to have the stuffing, make with cubed bread, crumbled Italian sausage, walnuts and fresh cranberries. The only problem is that they don't like it baked in a casserole, it MUST be cooked inside the bird.

    Oh well, it's just once a year.

    - Suzanne, the Farmer's Wife

  13. How did you know? We are having Squirrel Potpie here PA...!

    LOL, just kidding!! Here at my house, we adore a good Turkey feast with all the trimmings! My hubby makes the turkey. I work on the house and make everything all company ready. (that takes a while!) We have mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes (oh, my the carbs) baked corn, green beans, gravy and Red Stuff...a cranberry and orange jello relish-it's delish! I help with the sides, haha! And pumpkin pie. mmmmmmm I set the table and make it all pretty. My mother in law brings the pies. Oh, yeah, we're big turkey people!

    Whatever you're having...
    Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy your family. I can't wait to see my college-boy!

    Love your blog so much!!

  14. I'm dreaming right along with you! I could do without the turkey, but the family would balk. Have a great day. Sally

  15. I am going to have to stop reading people's blogs when I have a tankard of coffee. I end up wiping the screen every time! The other white meat!!!! You are sick, Mary. I really LOVE that in a person!

    We have a really good recipe for turkey, we brine it, stuff it full of celery, apples, oranges with garlic stuck in strategic places in the meat. And it's delectable. Moist, tasty. But me? Not so much. Thankfully HE who must have giblet gravy and turkey takes care of it as do our guests.

    One year, we went to honeybaked and got a delicious spiral cut turkey breast. It was so tasty. But there was something missing. No one said anything, but it was like someone exchanged the Dressing with Stovetop Stuffing.

    Half of Thanksgiving is the bounty, I think and the having of favorites on the table. I bet half of America feels that way.

  16. Funny, Mary! Now carbonara, the real thing, I could go for. Love that stuff! Of course, we too will be having turkey (and probably beef, I think). Enjoy!

  17. Hi Mary,

    Oh I love turkey, this is the first time in a long time that I hve not bought a little turkey breast a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving because I can't wait. (Yeah I'm one of those, the whole family hides Christmas presents on me too, because I've been known to peek ahead of time LOL I like to say I'm young at heart !!)

    I have my fresh turkey on order from Whole Foods, Tommy is just waiting for me to pick him up Weds. YUM

    Having an Italian Mother I also love that food too.

    Christmas we do a Roast and sauce.

    Have a great day,
    Kathy :)

    ps your pic looks like what went on on my front porch, I heard to spray the pumpkins with hairspray and they'll back off...going to try that next year !!!

  18. I like turkey for Thanksgiving ... and I even like cooking it. But only on Thanksgiving. I want that meat to be drippingly moist or I want no part of it however.

    This year ... due to the fact that our kitchen is covered in dust from tile removal ... we are going out for Mexican food.

    How fun is THAT?!?

  19. Well, I'm a little embarrassed to reveal this, but my husband hunts squirrels ---and they are very tasty fried like chicken!! We are going to Alabama for the holiday, and my sister who doesn't particulary love turkey like I do is ordering a smoked one. I DO love them smoked, but I'll miss the aroma in the house!

    I luuuuv your dining room, Mary! I hope you take a picture of your Thanksgiving laden table for us all to enjoy!

  20. I am JUST like you, Mary. I don't care a freakin' thing about turkey. Not the lunch meat or anything else made with turkey. But, oh, I do love all the sides...dressing gravy potatoes green beans fruit salad cranberry sauce...yep..i love it all...
    and, yes, we will have a small turkey but I also slide in a small ham to go with those luscious sweet potatoes...

  21. We will be having turkey and all the trimmings on Thanksgiving. What I don't like is the football games. It is my hubby's favorite holiday of course! I told them a few yrs ago, if they don't help, I'm not doing it anymore. Now they help, and it's not too bad anymore. I eat turkey sandwiches all the time when I go for lunch.

  22. We're the odd couple out...We love turkey, wasn't going to make one this year because it's just the two of us but if Ina and Jeffrey can be a "party of two" so can Sue and John....I love the infamous Rutabaga and the husbands side of choice is my mushroom stuffing....I'm really odd that my favorite holiday treat is.......Fruitcake!!! I love the fruitcake....Have a very Happy Thanksgiving....

  23. I never liked turkey much until my husband starting frying them. Oh. My. Gosh. So good. In peanut oil. I'm sure the whole think is very bad for you. But so moist and delicious. That, and my mom's dressing and I am in heaven!

  24. Oh such a clever title to go with your beautiful little (other white meat).

    I like turkey. I like stuffin'. And nothin' says Tanksgivin' like lovin' from the oven.

    I don't know where that came from. Sorry.

  25. Hahahahahahaha! Well, I love the side dishes, but I also love the turkey. And I only cook 2 per year, so I guess I can deal with it. We actually love the turkey leftovers more than anything else. I make several dishes with the leftovers that my family tell me they must have in the days that follow Thanksgiving. LOL! So I guess it is worth it to us.

    Hope you have a great holiday!

  26. I agree. We've done it different a few times. My husband loves the traditional meal, but he has been a trooper on the few years we've done it different. The worst year? We decided to go out to eat. I didn't know most places were closed. My Dad had just died a few weeks before. Not thinking clearly. We ended up in a horrible buffet place, nasty gross food..I cried, but we do laugh about it that 'remember that year we ate at that horrible place way'.

  27. Just thinking about what lies ahead of me this week has me wishing I could feed mine Swansen meals in pretty silver trays...I loved this post Mary! Congrats to your daughter too!


  28. OK People - You would love turkey if you'd order one from Greenburg Smoked Turkeys in Tyler, Texas. Even Oprah had Greenburg's on her Christmas show a couple of years ago. We always have their smoked turkey every single year as we live near Tyler. Baked turkey I do not like at all. Have a Greenburg delivered for Christmas and see what I mean! We have ham, too, and all the trimmings. We've had BBQ Brisket, Ribs, etc., and also we've had a couple of Mexican food Thanksgivings and/or Christmas's.

  29. I don't like turkey either! I prefer ham on Thanksgiving. :-)

  30. Okay, so you made me laugh again. You have that knack. : )
    I to am a big fan of the sides...could just eat that. I will admit that a turley sandwich, with lots of bitter, the next day is pretty good though. : )

    Wishing you and your family a sweet Thanksgiving day...anbd lots of delicious side dishes!


  31. I don't think you have to have a "traditional" meal... I was granted my request for chicken enchildadas until my son-in-law said ENOUGH- we are having turkey for Thanksgiving.

    So the deal is the "kids" make the food & I am the guest.

    ... and today I am having enchildadas/tamales/rice & black beans! yum!

  32. Much to my surprise I found out last year that no one in my family really likes all the Thanksgiving day trimmings. They don't like the turkey, gravy, stuffing, none of it. I don't think it is my cooking as they eat everything else. So, we all decided we would start a new tradition. Because we live in Florida we just pack a big picnic and go to the beach. After all, the idea is to be with your family and be thankful, right??? As for me, I still miss it all so will try to sneak it in some time soon for dinner on a smaller scale.

    I enjoyed your blog and will drop in from now on. Beautiful photos!



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