I am breaking up with you.
With each passing year, the origin story of Thanksgiving is getting murkier. We are at a point in history where the Wampanoag are more deserving of our attention than the pilgrims. Some have stopped celebrating with you altogether.
My motivation is less about history and more about culinary intransigence.
Your day is a milestone day for us. I love the idea of sitting still, thanking the ones without whom doing life would be impossible, making time to cook and gathering without an agenda. I love it that your image heralds the Christmas season.
For 40 years you’ve afforded us many joys and our gratitude knows no bounds. But now, I am leaving you.
Each year, we shop days ahead of time, you sit on our kitchen counter thawing for hours, and then you occupy our oven for the good portion of the day. We’ve roasted you in a bag and without. We have marinated you overnight. We’ve cooked you the American way and the Indian way. Heck, we've even tried Teriyaki Turkey. We have stuffed you with bread and fruits and with seafood. We have left no stone unturned, shy of frying you.
Every year, we have begged and implored you to taste like something other than cardboard. Yet, I can’t point to a specific version of you and say, “That was amazing!”
Nope. Never. You disappoint me every single year.
You refuse to allow the flavors to penetrate your cement like fibers without ungodly amounts of salty brine. I can only imagine how they inject you with flavor in the process of making sandwich meat. That makes me hyper anxious. On Thanksgiving day, I dance around you and make my way to the fixings and dessert for the requisite food coma.
I am done dancing. I am leaving you. There is no point in trying to convince me otherwise.
This year when Tarun set out to make “Sikandari” lamb I was intrigued. Sikandar is Alexander the Great. I imagine this dish was served to the emperor himself. The marinade was rich in flavors, it slow cooked to perfection and I thoroughly enjoyed the soft, flavorful, falling-off-the-bone chunks of meat.
It is time for us to part ways, dear Turkey. It is time to retire you in our household.
You are probably heaving a sigh of relief too. Go forth and run around in the woods gleefully. Many hugs and good wishes. We will definitely continue to celebrate our blessings without you.
Love and peace from our little turkey!