Yesterday was Thanksgiving in the US. It’s a complicated holiday for many, either because of family drama or because of its roots in a colonial celebration of conquest (don’t come at me with any “but they were friends” nonsense, the Wampanoag saved their dumbass starving English neighbors from cannibalism and were “thanked” with exploitation and genocide). Thanksgiving for my family is just the Christmas on ramp, we’re already listening to carols and watching Christmas movies—and fighting over the merit of Hallmark holiday rom-coms—and putting out Christmas decorations.
We don’t really have “Thanksgiving traditions”, besides I get to light the Thanksgiving night bonfire with Wednesday Addams’ speech from Addams Family Values.
But we DO eat turkey on Thanksgiving. Over the years, Lainey has made her feelings on turkey clear. She doesn’t f-ck with turkey. She’s not alone, a lot of people don’t f-ck with turkey, including the Kelce brothers.
Is turkey actually anyoneâ€™s favorite Thanksgiving dish? pic.twitter.com/EAm3gyWda3— New Heights (@newheightshow) November 22, 2023
I’m not going to try to talk anyone out of disliking turkey, life is too short to eat stuff you don’t like. And I’m not going to get into preparation tips and recipes (but it is a two-day affair involving a maple glaze for me), but I will offer a defense of turkey and it’s this: it’s a vessel. Turkey is not about the turkey. It IS the least flavorful poultry, though I must say that wild turkey is a different experience. A wild turkey can have more flavor, especially if its diet is mostly acorns. Even still, turkey is sort of a blank slate.
Which is the point! Turkey doesn’t get in the way of anything else. Stuffing, gravy, whatever sides you’re serving, turkey won’t interfere. It’s a good protein source that supports whatever gravy you want to put on it, whatever stuffing you want to bake with it, it won’t overpower delicate root veg bakes or whatever your family’s special holiday dishes are. I truly believe this is why turkey remains the central protein for Thanksgiving, even though most people like chicken better. I like chicken better! But not on Thanksgiving, because on Thanksgiving, all I want is to enjoy the special dishes we only make at this time of year, and turkey doesn’t affect the flavor of anything else. It also makes a great barrier to keep gravy out of my sweet potatoes.
THAT is what I WILL fight over—sweet potato casserole toppings. Get the f-ck out with your baked marshmallow nonsense, it’s candied pecans or nothing at all.
Live long and gossip,