Guest Post by T. McUrkey


T. McUrkey

I love this time of year, don’t you? The dazzling colours of the leaves on the trees; the slight chill in the air; the crisp, fresh autumnal smell; the taste of apples and pumpkin pie;  the sounds of geese flying south for the winter. And Thanksgiving! Who doesn’t love Thanksgiving, right?

I don’t love Thanksgiving, that’s who. Me and 55 million of my closest friends and relatives don’t love Thanksgiving at all (That’s 45 million of us in the US and 10 million of us in Canada eaten every Thanksgiving)

That’s right. Look me in the eye. Now tell me how delicious I look.


What’s wrong with you people?

Why are you all so desperate  to gobble us up at Thanksgiving? Pilgrims, right? Tradition, right? Well, so what? Do you blindly do everything pilgrims did? Do you wear pantaloons? Or big shiny buckles on your shoes? If Pilgrims had jumped off a cliff, would you all be jumping off a cliff once a year?

Do you know that a Butterball wasn’t even the centerpiece of the pilgrims’ Thanksgiving? Phluck no! Pilgrims lived on the east coast, folks. They ate lobster and clams and mussels and sea bass and bluefish with some corn and beans and squash that the natives showed them how to grow and maybe, just maybe, a little  venison and WILD turkey. 

So if you really want a traditional Thanksgiving go with seafood. Yummy seafood and butter! Lots and lots of butter. Doesn’t that sound better than gnawing on me, all dried up from hours in a hot oven? (Did you get a good look at my mug, by the way?)

Hey, if you really need a little turkey, go shoot yourself a WILD turkey. Those are damned handsome bastards. They’re bound to be extremely tasty, don’t you think? Or maybe a nice goose (the ones you love to hear flying south for the winter, for instance). Or pork. Pork is very, very festive. And, boy oh boy, who doesn’t love pork, right? The kids will go crazy for a nice pork roast. With some pineapple all over it maybe…am I right?

Or maybe, if you really want to show how thankful you are about the bounty of the earth and the blessings in your life, why not be a mensch this year and try to think of a meal that doesn’t involve killing anything at all? That would be cool, I think.

I know, I know, I’m not exactly unbiased here. I probably don’t understand the human need for dead critters to enhance the celebratory joy and jubilation. I freely admit I have no idea why sinking your teeth into my muscular brown thigh is going to make your day special. I mean, I’ve pecked at it — just out of curiosity, you know — and… blech… just blech. Sure, there was a little poop stuck to it at the time, but still…blech.

And what’s the big whoop about  covering my breasts with gravy made from my drippings and gizzards? How does that set your mouth a-drooling?  My drippings and gizzards for god’s sake! Do you know what those are?

And why the hell would you want to be making soup from my scrawny neck?  

So, ya. Okay. I’m getting a little steamed here (And not in an “a la king” kind of way, so calm down). I reckon we’d better  just agree to disagree on this whole “one-of-us-eating-the-other” thing, okay?

I know most of ya’ll are going to keep following the Thanksgiving culinary traditions of your parents and their parents before them. (And by the way, good on ya for actually still having parents and maybe even grandparents. Must be nice, eh? I got to see my mum for like 5 seconds after I hatched and then off she went to get plucked. (And ya, I did spell that correctly)

HOWEVER. In case some of you are interested in maybe starting your own, non-killy Thanksgiving dinner traditions, I’ve come up with some options. You can still have all the sweet potatoes and cranberries and other usual accompaniments you love to eat until you explode. Just maybe substitute something else for the dead things. How about it?

  • Instead of cramming bread into my hollowed-out organ cavity, why not fill up an acorn or butternut squash’s seed cavity with your favourite stuffing recipe?
  • Instead of my blood, fat and internal organs, why not make a nice gravy from mushrooms?[1]
  • Instead of shoving my dead, decapitated, de-footed carcass into your oven, why not roast up a nice nut loaf?[2] Or some homemade tofurkey? (NOT the store-boughten one…better you should eat me).

I guess it’s obvious I’m pretty bitter about my kind getting the axe every Thanksgiving. We’re all bitter. Which, really is another good reason why we’d make for really yucky eating, dontcha think?

[1] Mushroom Sage Gravy. Thinly slice some tasty mushrooms and onions, sautee with a little olive oil and a dash of salt. Let them brown really well, even burn a little, add a little water and stir to de-glaze pan, let water cook off, add more water, some tamari, a dash of ketchup, a bay leaf or two, a good helping of sage, salt and pepper, cover pan and simmer for about 30 minutes. Then you can strain off the mushrooms and onions or leave them in and thicken gravy with some cornstarch or arrowroot.
[2] Thanksgiving Nut Loaf. Chopped onion,  some  chopped garlic (2 or 3 cloves), ¼ cup or so grated carrot, 4 cups of chopped up crimini mushrooms, ½ cup of chopped parsley or cilantro, 3 cups or so of chopped nuts (whatever you like except not peanuts, they’re  too overwhelming – walnuts are good or almonds or cashews or a mix),  about ½ cup wholewheat breadcrumbs,  ¼ cup of sunflower seeds, ½ cup of oats, 1 T. soy sauce, ½ cup of red wine or port or broth, some oregano, thyme, sage, salt and pepper (1/2 tsp . each maybe??). Sautee onion, garlic and mushrooms in a little olive oil. Add parsley. Mix everything else together along with the onions, garlic and mushrooms until you have a nice doughy texture. Throw in an egg if it doesn’t look like it’s sticking together well. Put it in a greased loaf pan and bake at 350 for about an hour