November 27th, 2003


The Turkey Conspiracy

Every year on the fourth Thursday in November we celebrate a holiday in the US called "Thanksgiving." For reasons I have yet to understand, every year millions of people eagerly anticipate a meal they eat only once a year. The centerpiece is a huge bird called "turkey."

Turkey is vile, folks. Try tasting it with a blindfold on. There's a reason they call it "fowl," and it's not just because it's gallanaceous. That stuff tastes awful. Despite this, folks gobble up turkey -- pun intended -- in massive quantities on that day.

Why do folks like it so much? I can only guess it's because they've been told they like it to the point where they've been brainwashed. You know how, when your mother wanted you to eat something awful tasting, she'd tell you "You like it" to convince you to down it? I figure after enough years of being brainwashed, folks start to think they like it. Heck, I wish I liked turkey, but I don't. I never have. The bird has an icky taste to it. I don't know how to describe it other than to say chicken doesn't have that taste, but ostrich has an amplified version of the flavor I so dislike in turkey.

Anyhow, I figure all these other folks were brainwashed by their parents, who were brainwashed by their parents, and so forth to the point where we've bred a race of people who are easy to convince they like turkey. I can believe there is a small number of folks who really like it, just as there are people who like the smell of skunk. Nonetheless, I rather dislike this day because I get subjected to The Turkey Conspiracy.

Over a month before The Day, ads start popping up telling me about "golden brown, juicy turkey." I have never seen a turkey fitting that description. A few are brown; most are beige to tan. To get them to be "juicy" you have to go through great contortions.

Why on earth, then do people so eagerly look forward to this dinner of turkey combined with really weird foods we don't eat the rest of the year? If the Thanksgiving dinner was truly that wonderful, we'd eat it every week -- but we don't. Where did someone get the idea of cranberry gelatin in a can, slicing it, and serving it on meat? How did "Jell-o" get the name "sauce," anyway? Then there's this crazed concept of stuffing the bird with a bread mixture. Why put stuff in the bird when it takes uncomfortably long to cook as it is? Obviously the concept flies (the turkey doesn't), because the Stove-Top Stuffing folks have been making a mint on it for years.

As for the rest of the meal, sweet potatoes are sweet enough by themselves. Why add even more sugar to them? Mashed potatoes are another ucky food; they taste okay, but their texture isn't much off from library paste. Then there's string beans. Okay, I'm allergic to them anyway, so the point is moot.

Then there's dessert. Who would ever have thought of taking a vegetable -- a squash -- and making a pie out of it? Pumpkin pie is okay, but it's weird stuff. The concept is up there with tapioca and durian in the "who'd have thought to call this "food" category.

Despite my dislike for nearly the whole meal, I'm stuck going to my boyfriends' parents' Thanksgiving dinner. They have been totally brainwashed into thinking they like and must eat this meal. I, however, have my brain intact and will grit my teeth, slipping any turkey dumped on my plate to the dog, who'll eat almost anything.