Let’s Talk Turkey!

Literally. Yep, you read that right. I know it’s not November, which is when a lot of conversations revolve around turkeys, but now seems as good a time as any. I love turkey. Few things conjure up such good feelings/memories as the smell of a turkey roasting in the oven. In my case, it may be because I slather three-cow’s worth of butter on it, then liberally sprinkle garlic and a bit of thyme.

The smell wafting throughout the house is hard to describe. Maddening might be a good term, because it takes self-control to refrain from cutting into the bird as soon as the thermometer hits the magic number. Since I cook my turkey on Wednesday, I don’t have a “stay away from the turkey” problem. Ed and I can enjoy sandwiches to our hearts’ content before the big day arrives. In case you’re wondering…yes. There will be plenty left for Thanksgiving, thanks to my theory on turkey shopping. If I can’t lift it, it’s probably big enough.

At my first full-time job, I worked for a large company that had turkey ranches all over California, and they’d process the turkeys that ended up on someone’s dinner table. Luckily, I was an executive secretary and not a field or plant worker. It’s hard to eat something you’ve had an up-close-and-personal relationship with. I learned some interesting facts. Bearing in mind that back then I was young, naïve, and gullible, my boss told me turkeys are so stupid they’ve drowned looking up at rain. I’m smarter now, plus I have Google and know how to use it, so I know that’s just a common old myth. No drowning in the rain. Stupid? Probably, otherwise so many of them wouldn’t end up in an oven.

I think the turkeys they raised were happy. Plenty of food and a controlled environment, free from the dangers of living in the wild. (Until they went to market. Probably not so happy then.) He also told me turkeys reproduced via artificial insemination. That part’s true. Because we raise them on farms or ranches, they’re too fat to breed on their own. Better for us who have perfected the art of turkey cooking and like a lot of non-dried-out white meat…not so much for the turkeys’ sex life. My boss said artificial insemination was more efficient, but not as much fun for the turkey. Pretty sure he nailed that one. He leered and winked when he said it, which in today’s environment would net him a harassment lawsuit, but back then we couldn’t spell harassment, let alone complain when it happened.

One thing surprises me. Restaurants seem to think the only time we want to eat turkey is shortly before Thanksgiving. Kind of like how you can only find eggnog late in the year. Come January, eggnog is as elusive as the proverbial pot of gold. Same with a turkey dinner at your local restaurant unless it’s October, November, or December. I’m salivating thinking how close we are to Cracker Barrel (hopefully) bringing back their fried turkey. Fingers crossed!

I’m one of those people who buy two turkeys in November, when they’re normally cheaper. One the size of a small elephant, and one considerably smaller. Maybe just the breast, which is currently in the oven, happily roasting away. We have a mid-year turkey dinner, complete with the usual side dishes and Ed’s cornbread dressing. And…it bears repeating. If you love cornbread dressing, when you make up a batch of cornbread to eat with beans, freeze the leftovers. It’ll be conveniently available when you (or your husband) start jonesing for dressing.

I recently made a fascinating discovery. Well, fascinating to me, but we all know I’m a little warped. The electric company requested we watch our electricity consumption, because it’s been well over a hundred degrees for the past two years. Okay, okay, it’s two weeks. It just feels longer. I decided to do my part by not cooking. BTW, you are so wrong! I wasn’t too lazy to cook. Well…maybe just a tad. At any rate, I fixed sandwiches a couple days in a row. (Had to use up those Kaiser rolls before they spoiled.) (That’s my story, anyway.)

Have you ever bought turkey luncheon meat? I’ve tried virtually every brand. Ed likes a roast beef sandwich, so he’s easy. I prefer turkey or ham. Ham’s easy, but turkey can be a challenge. It never tastes like it does when it’s Thanksgiving leftovers. The other day, I shopped at Wal-Mart’s deli instead of the cold-cuts section. And here’s the fascinating thing you’ve been anxiously waiting for. I found it!

Butterball makes a turkey called “Thanksgiving Style Roasted Turkey Breast.” Who knew? It tastes exactly like you just cut it off your Thanksgiving turkey. Fair warning, it’s not all rainbows and unicorns, because there are two downsides to buying it. 1) If your husband prefers roast beef, that won’t stop him from scarfing down your turkey. Don’t buy into the “only one bite” line, because it’s a lie. 2) You may need a support group for your newly acquired turkey addiction. We’re trying to find one, but so far…no luck.

I love it so much, I e-mailed Butterball. Since I filled in my address even though it wasn’t a mandatory requirement, I’m hoping they send a coupon. I told them the same thing I’m telling you. I don’t know how they managed to pull off such a remarkable feat, but for those of us who want good turkey all year without overheating the kitchen, they nailed it. Next time you’re at a deli, look for it. You can let me know if I’m wrong, but I’m not. Plus, we’ll let you join our turkey addicts support group.

I heard something on the news the other day. If we don’t stop eating meat, the world will cease to exist. Since at least 2010, the UN wants us to live a meat and dairy free life. They’ve increased their efforts to limit meat consumption, and as recently as August 8, they upped the ante by publishing a report on the subject. Sorry. I worry about the planet, too, but I draw the line at the no-meat/no-dairy theory.

Obviously, they’ve never eaten Butterball’s deli turkey. What do they put on their cereal—almond milk? Not the same. How can they pass on a fresh-out-of-the-oven biscuit heaped with butter? What do they eat at a ballgame? Pretty sure a tofu hot dog won’t cut the mustard. Does the thought of a bacon cheeseburger with milkshake cause hyperventilation? Are they crazy? Okay, that last might be a stretch, but I’m not buying it.

God gave us animals and said, “Feel free to eat them.” (Paraphrased.) Because we’re a stubborn, unruly, sinful bunch, he decided to wipe out the earth by filling it with more water than my whirlpool bathtub holds. (Again…paraphrased.) But! Don’t forget Noah’s instructions. I’m sure the ark’s animals/birds included turkeys, otherwise Butterball wouldn’t be in existence. God made sure we’d be able to celebrate Thanksgiving or eat the occasional hamburger.

There are a bunch of Bible verses that refer to lands of “milk and honey.” Cows produce milk. Soooo…if the UN insists everyone live a meat and dairy-free lifestyle, exactly how does that milk happen? In Deuteronomy, God is pretty specific on his promises. One of which is that if we listen obediently, love God, and serve Him, He’ll make sure we have grass for our animals, rain for our crops, and plenty to eat. (Paraphrased.) Another stamp of approval on animals.

How much hubris does it take to decide we can destroy the planet by doing the very thing God told us to do? A lot. And here’s my political announcement for the day. If we read and took to heart God’s instruction manual, i.e. the Bible, instead of making up our own rules, we’d all be a lot better off. Hate would cease to exist, war would be something you watched at the movies and not something you read about in the paper, discrimination would be a thing of the past, name calling would stop, mass shootings/killings would never be on the nightly news, and life would be pretty sweet. And contrary to what the UN desires, we’d eat turkey sandwiches, drink milk and be fat, dumb, and happy. Just like the turkeys.

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