When picking your Thanksgiving turkey, choose wisely

Allergy season – and tissue-eating dogs – in full swing

Thanksgiving is approaching and, as usual, I am hosting family
and friends. I’ve done this for a few years and honestly? After all
this time you’d think I’d be better at it, right? Sadly, no. I
still can’t cook and I really still can’t make a turkey.
Thanksgiving is approaching and, as usual, I am hosting family and friends. I’ve done this for a few years and honestly? After all this time you’d think I’d be better at it, right? Sadly, no. I still can’t cook and I really still can’t make a turkey.

For one thing, I believe turkeys are intimidating. They’re like mutant chickens. Hello? Anyone who has seen at least one ’50s sci-fi film understands that having giant, mutant chickens running around will not end well. In fact, there’s a very good chance that someday giant, mutant chickens will try to take over the planet when we aren’t looking.

Or maybe I just watch too much TV. Frankly, I think that could go either way.

Anyway, besides the whole “turkeys will take over the world” stuff, there is also the fact that I find choosing a turkey to be intimidating. Look, in the old days, when I was young and the world was a much simpler place, I chose from a fresh turkey or a frozen turkey.

And because I was young and usually strapped for cash, my decision was easy. I got the turkey that was free when you bought a certain amount in groceries. But now there are a plethora of turkey choices and sadly, no grocery stores are offering free turkeys. So I have to buy one. And frankly, the choices are overwhelming.

First you have the above-mentioned fresh or frozen. Look, all I know is that if a frozen turkey drops on my toe, it’s going to hurt and probably break my toe. On the other hand, if a fresh turkey drops on my toe, well it’s still going to hurt, but my toe has a decent chance of survival and may even live to see another day in flip-flops.

Next we have fresh, frozen turkeys. Really? Who makes up this stuff? Isn’t a fresh, frozen turkey the same as a frozen turkey? Maybe I’m going out on a limb here, but it seems to me that they all start out as fairly fresh before they are frozen.

And then of course we have graded turkeys. Who knew? Apparently turkeys are graded and the best receive an “A.” Just like high school. Only in high school, if you get straight “A’s,” you usually don’t end up in someone’s freezer with your head cut off and your innards wrapped in paper and stuffed in your stomach. I’m just saying.

You can also choose a turkey that is self-basting. Look, I know this is the new millennium and we have the Internet and all that – but do I need to know what a turkey does in the privacy of his own home? I don’t think so. Let’s move on, shall we?

Our next choices include free-range and free-roaming. These are turkeys who have spent their brief lives out running around, trying to figure out the roaming charges on their cell phone plans. Or maybe not. But they are out running around. Is it just me or is this kind of mean? The turkey farmer gives them hope of escape and dreams of a future where they roam around all day long and then boom! Off with their heads and into the freezer.

Finally, we can choose a Heritage Turkey. Turns out that most turkeys we have today are not the same turkeys that the pilgrims and Indians enjoyed at the first Thanksgiving in 1621. As shocking as it is, the pilgrims did not haul a Butterball out of the freezer and toss it on the barbecue (and you thought you wouldn’t learn anything by reading this, shame on you). Instead they ate wild turkey or, in my own words, “the stupid turkeys that live outside my house and drive me nuts by pooping all over the patio.”

Call me crazy, but I’ve seen those birds year round. Seriously. Do not pay more to eat them. You can run one over for free. They cross the road at all hours and never, ever look both ways before doing so. And they are known to surround cars, gobble wildly and then stare you down when you honk at them to make them move. They drive me nuts.

As for me, I still don’t know what kind of turkey I’m serving. But I guarantee it will be fresh. Or frozen. Or free-range. Or possibly even free-roaming. But it will not, under any circumstances be self-basting or heritage. Even I have standards.

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