How to Choose a Turkey

Posted on November 18th, 2010

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 50’s 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. I think that could go either way, frankly.

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? Really? Who makes this stuff up? 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 BBQ (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.

Add me to your rss reader | Become a Fan on Facebook!

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

7 Responses to “How to Choose a Turkey”

  1. Karrin Says:

    Hahahahahahahahahahaha! Ok I never thought of self-basting turkey’s quite like that! I should not read you at work…I give myself away that I am having a good time ; )

  2. Laurie Says:

    Karrin, LOL. I still can’t believe I think like that!

  3. et Says:

    LOl too funny Here’s another category of “turkey” that ahem… my family uses when and if the emergency of relatives showing up is imminent(in 30 mins or less)…the “whole roasted turkey from Whole Foods complete with stuffing, but will be dumped in a pan and shoved in the oven just before said relatives arrive” category..Now I know this sounds like Thanksgiving blasphemy, but really when mom plans dinner for 4, then gets a phone call right before that relatives are coming(3-4 but eat for 8-10), it’s an all out race to accommodate…what’s a girl to do right? Oh and when this does happen? The family is sworn to secrecy n stuff with full nondisclosure forms and level orange momism threats…lol

  4. Karrin Says:

    Hahahahahah et – what they don’t know, right? ; )

  5. Laurie Says:

    LOL. et, at least you go the Whole Foods route.

    Fortunately for me, I’m Italian-American. We operate under the concept that you can never make too much food, so we always make way, way too much for family dinners. Last year, my husband made two turkeys for 8 people. Yeah. Everyone took home leftovers.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  6. family of origin Says:

    Greetings, thanks for this article. I appreciate your point of view.

  7. film indir Says:

    reetings. I follow your site to wish you continued success.

Leave a Reply