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

32 responses to “Guest Post by T. McUrkey

  1. Sorry, Mr. Turkey.

    For strict Meatatarians, a meal of mushrooms, squash, and veggies is not a FEAST.

    Those are garnishes. Tasty side-dishes, perhaps. But they are NOT a meal.

    If it’s any consolation, a lot of us don’t feel we have to necessarily eat turkey for Thanksgiving. It could be any critter: cow, pig, deer, duck, salmon, lobster, etc…

    I think your best bet would be to remind everyone how tasty those OTHER animals are.

    It wouldn’t stop us from eating you altogether. But at least it would improve your odds. We’d be eating LESS of you (and more of them). 😉

  2. i am going to try making the nut loaf – sounds delish. would you put the mushroom gravy on top of it?
    i won’t this read this post out loud at dinner this weekend (as you suggested on my blog), i need to fly under the radar as much as possible. my family + too much wine + me being a new “vegetarian” = me under attack and i hate being the center of attention!!!!

  3. Sorry, I have teeth that indicate I’m supposed to be eating meat. I have a digestion system that’s designed to process meat.

    As ugly as your, Mr McUrkey, you will be consumed, along with your ugly animal-friends the cow, pig, chicken, fish and whatever else comes along.

    Thanks for your concern, though 🙂

  4. Thanks for the recipe XUP.:)
    Gross holiday fact-My dad boils the neck, heart and liver of turkeys every Thanksgiving and Christmas and eats them. Which I think helped kick start my interest in becoming a vegetarian. LOL

  5. Friar – I did try to convince you that pork would make an excellent Thanksgiving meal….pineapple rings…maraschino cherries..cracklin’ crispy deliciousness.

    Jazz – The nut loaf is delicious!! Good with the mushroom gravy and/or cranberry sauce. Much more delicious than ugly old foul fowl. One more relative lives to see Christmas maybe…

    Meanie – You can definitely put the mushroom gravy over the top. Makes it twice as delish. I didn’t think you’d actually want to read it out loud!

    Ken – Gulp! Gasp. You are frightening me. Teeth are good for chewing other things, too you know. And actually your digestive system is very inefficient at digesting meat. It’s way too long. Carnivores have very short digestive tracts. But gee..buddy..pal o’mine….why turkey? Why always turkey?

    Hannah – The recipe was from me, T. McUrkey, not XUP (see post title) Let me know if you make it and enjoy it. No need to follow directions exactly — use your judgment. I think I’ve heard legends in the barn about your Dad. We tell them at night to the youngsters before bed.

  6. I think my family has come to the realization that those huge overly fattened birds are a crime against all that is fowl. I personally could make a feast of side dishes – sweet potato pie, dressing, root vegetables, more dressing on the side… I heard mutterings of possible mussels for our dinner.

  7. You need to get beyond the turkey and by beyond obviously I mean all the way to the pinnacle of festive eating. Turducken.
    You de-bone a duck, chicken, and turkey. Then you stuff one inside the other and if you find any room left stuff that with oysters.
    I heard of this first from Paul Prudhomme the exceptional cajun chef.
    And you know it must be good because before he died he weighed over 400 lbs and could no longer stand.
    Now that’s the way to enjoy life to the max.

  8. @Bandobras

    I think it was within the past year or two…..National Geographic devoted an entire article to turducken. And a small southern town that’s famous for making them.

    Those things look AWESOME!

  9. Hooray! Though I prefer a Quorn turk’y roast over the Tofurkey brand roast. W/some roasted veggies even my meat-eatin’ family thought I wasn’t quite as nuts as they thought before they found out how tasty it all was.

    I also ‘adopt’ a turkey from this time of year.

    For gawd sakes, if you’re going to eat a turkey, at least get a locally, humanely raised one without the hideous factory farming karma and antibiotics in it. Geez.

    (Woohoo vegetarians!)

  10. Mmmmmm, turkey.

    We eat it at Easter and Christmas too. Dunno why, but I love it.

    But, we eat wild turkey that my wife’s uncle hunts (black powder or bow) Once you go wild, domestic turkey seems quite bland.

    As for all the fixings? I can do without. Its like when I eat a steak, anything else on the plate leaves less room for the meat!

    But I must agree that the growing, feeding, killing in mass quantities for Thanksgiving is a bit ridiculas. If you really want to grow local then find a farmer, make a deal and get all your meat that way. I do. I know where my steer came from, what he ate and I even gave him a name (this year it was Yummy, last year it was Dinner, but I’m a bit sick that way)

    There are farms around where I live that advertise that they are selling their livestock to local families as they would rather not sell to the co-ops etc. They make more money and it saves a tonne of gas taking those beasts to market.

    Blah, blah, blah. I talk to much.


  11. Milan – Yes, I’ve seen that. And then they go enjoy a dinner of the ones they didn’t pardon.

    Violetsky – The stuffing is really the important part anyway. I think they only invented the big fat turkeys so you could put more stuffing in them.

    Bandobras – That’s just gross.

    Friar – Maybe you and Bandobras can have Thanksgiving together this year?

    Amy – I don’t think I’ve tried that one. The Tofurkey was truly disgusting though. I’ll have a look and maybe give it a try. Maybe.

    Eyeteaguy – Well, if you have to eat meat, that’s the way to go. I’m not actually sure what that stuff is they sell in supermarkets these days.I guess it resembles meat as much as those odd tomato-like fruits they sell in the winter resemble tomatoes.

  12. @XUP

    Ah. Local produce. Like those Sun-Tech tomatoes at Loblaws?

    (You know, the ones that make a 700-km round trip!)

    (To be fair, that one’s not Sun-Tech’s fault…)

  13. But Mr. T. McUrkey, if we don’t roast you in a hot oven, how will be get the drippings for the narcotically delicious turkey gravy?

    For whatever it’s worth, the macro-farmed among you are greasy and unappealing, so we go for the ones that are happily farmed until they are killed by someone else for my enjoyment. And gravy.

    I am the gravy locust. I prefer to take my gravy in pint glasses and serve everything else as a side dish.

  14. If I were supposed to only eat veggies, I’d have a mouth full of just molars instead of these wickedly sharp canines and incisors. But Mr. Turkey you are safe from me, as I always prefer a honeybaked ham for Thanksgiving. Oinky Thanksgiving! (I have never cooked a turkey.)

  15. Wild Turkey is delicious.
    So is Makers Mark, Jim Beam, Fighting Cock, Old Grand Dad, and Woodfords Reserve.

  16. Why did you have to drag the U.S. into this? I do believe you people were celebrating T.D. before we were and the U.S. has over a month to go before Thanksgiving so give us grief then. I find it hard to believe there are 45 million Vegetarians in America. They are probably all pagans too.

  17. Friar – I blame the tomatoes. … and Oprah.

    Hallie – One day perhaps I will make you my delicious mushroom sage gravy and your eyes will pop with delight and you may never go back to ‘drippings”

    Geewits – Mr. T. McUrkey thanks you for doing a porky festive season.

    Hannah – Well, you asked. I almost think this entire post was built around your asking for that recipe.

    Lebowski – Now there’s a man who knows how to celebrate the holidays!

    LoLa – The holidays are exactly the same except for the very minor detail of the roast beast.

    Loth – You don’t have Thanksgiving? Come on. It’s the biggest holiday of the year in the US. Bigger than Christmas. Always the 4th Thursday in November. Followed by Black Friday which is the most insane shopping day of the year. In Canada Thanksgiving is much, much,much more low key and held the second Monday in October (Hey, that’s THIS Monday) Long weekend – whooo-hooo!

    Cedar – What are you on about? Of course we didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving before you guys. We didn’t even exist when you guys started celebrating Thanksgiving. Andt hat 45 million is the number of turkeys consumed every Thanksgiving in the US, not the number of vegetarians. No more tequila for you.

  18. “Cedar – What are you on about? Of course we didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving before you guys. We didn’t even exist when you guys started celebrating Thanksgiving.”

    OK, lets get realistic. Of course we existed back then. But we weren’t Canadians yet, we were French. The pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620. Quebec City had already been around for 11 years, having been founded in 1609.

    Though they probably didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving or eat any turducken.

  19. Ellie – Mush? As opposed to a big fat Porterhouse on the barbie you mean?

    Alison – Yay, another vote for the pig. Really? Ribs for Thanksgiving? Cool. the McUrkeys thank you. (Thanks for the historical clarification. By “we” I sort of meant Canadians… but I guess the French can be considered Canadians just this once)

    Cedar – You can’t afford medical attention because you’re American – ha ha!

  20. i love this post, and i always get hungry when you write about food. you could be a food critic, if there are enough veg restaurants up your way.

  21. Squid – Apparantly Canadians celebrated a “harvest thanksgiving’ many years before the Pilgrims. It was a low-key event though and never really took off the way the American one did.

    Leah – I always get hungry reading about food OR writing about food. Or thinking about food. I’m hungry right now!!