I’m just going to come out and say it: I don’t like turkey.
I do not like it in a brine.
I do not like it tied with twine.
I do not like it deeply fried.
I do not like it gravy-fied.
I could go on forever, but I’ll spare you further Seuss-isms. Just trust me: I actively dislike turkey. Even when it’s juicy and moist and flavorful, I still don’t like it. In fact, I could go the rest of my life without turkey and I would be just fine.
As Thanksgiving approaches, this presents a real dilemma. As a hostess, I feel somewhat obligated to serve turkey; my guests may feel cheated if it’s not on the menu. On the other hand, it’s hard for me to get excited about cooking and eating turkey. To be sure, there are some good recipes out there (like this juniper-rubbed version). But in the end, to lift a metaphor from elsewhere in the butcher aisle, you can’t put lipstick on a pig. Especially if it’s a turkey. To me, at least.
If the purpose of Thanksgiving is to give thanks, I’d much gather ’round something for which I’m truly grateful! In that spirit, I’m toying with the idea of making a slow-roasted pork shoulder, a dish that is celebration in itself. It’s so easy to make, though, that it almost feels like cheating. Something more elaborate may be in order, such as a ballotine; it involves boning out a whole chicken, stuffing it with tasty bits, and rolling it up in foil (like a burrito) before poaching. It looks really cool, is fun to make, and serves a crowd nicely. And it can be really delicious.
Then again, it IS Thanksgiving. I’m truly torn. Should I be selfish and make something I’ll really want to eat? Or should I bow to tradition and–forgive the metaphor–give everyone the bird?
If you’re a turkey traditionalist, there’s no shortage of good recipes on FC’s Thanksgiving Dinner Guide, but if you’re not. . .well, I want to hear from you (and soon, please). I look to you, dear readers, for advice.