Its officially November, which means the greatest holiday ever created is right around the corner: THAAaaaaaNKSGIVING!
Thanksgiving is the best holiday because it focuses solely on food and eating. Other holidays might get sidetracked with religious undertones, or giftgiving. [Don't even get me started on Valentine's Day. Last year, I ended up getting a debilitating case of hives. My doctor blamed the antibiotics; I found it a little too convenient that the outbreak occurred dead on V-Day...]
Not Thanksgiving. On Thanksgiving, your only objectives are to eat as much awesome food as you possibly can, share the wealth with others, and all be grateful that you are enjoying a delicious meal. Thankful for the earth's bounty, and whatnot. It's a glorious, glorious holiday.
For me, specifically, there are a few simple, traditional components that I think we can all agree help make Thanksgiving the most delicious holiday:
- mashed potatoes
- green bean casserole
- cranberry sauce
and the most important element, obviously:
- The Turkey.
In my household, its important to note that battle is waged over the drumsticks and thighs, with turkey breast/white meat living on in perpetuity in the form of sandwiches and inventive casseroles in the weeks that follow.
Now, for the past few years, the Jack clan has celebrated Thanksgiving at my aunt and uncle's house just outside of Sacramento. My aunt is from Louisiana, and she is a phenomenal cook, truly. She is also a very sharp and extraordinarily kind person. Thus, I was extremely confused when we arrived at her house on Thanksgiving in 2004. I looked at the presentation. Everything initially seemed in order: veggies, potatoes, bird..... but the bird gave me pause. Was it a little bit smaller than years past? My internal monologue went something like this:
"Hm, that's a small turkey..... wait, why doesn't it have any drumsti-OH MY GOD!"
Folks, my aunt had purchased a turkey without legs or wings. On purpose. It was, in fact, an all-breast turkey.
Where had the legs and wings gone? Why were they selling maimed turkeys at the store? And how had my otherwise intelligent and generous aunt been conned into buying one? I thought this might have been a fluke, but in 2005, the same amputee turkey showed up for dinner.
This year, I have had time to mentally prepare to greet the white-meat only turkey. It is just something I have had to come to terms with and accept; no hint is subtle or tactful enough to imply to my dear aunt that I prefer my turkeys with all of their limbs. So, my strategy to overcome this is to overcompensate with (as outlined above) sides, gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, etc. to mask the white-meat-only nature of the meal. In addition to this, and as my mother would pronounce, I probably also require an "attitude adjustment". Look, I understand that those less fortunate than I would be ecstatic to have any turkey. I get that. Fine!
My beef remains with the food manufacturers: where do you get off selling people turkeys sans appendages?? Why do you feel the need to further demoralize this already flightless bird by rendering him even more flightless? And, the most obvious mystery in this whole affair, where are the missing turkey components??
Well, I'll tell you where the drumsticks are: they are at traveling carnivals and county fairs and Magic Mountain, all selling for $9 a leg. I think the implication is all too clear: who is responsible for this travesty?
The carnies are turning a tidy little profit at the expense of the American People!
So carnies, I just have one more question for you... what have you done with our wings??