Please tell me I am not the only one who thinks the size of turkeys has gotten just a little out of hand.
In a year when we are encouraged not to gather in big groups, not to have plans with family and not to expect to be welcomed with open arms at the typically crowded Thanksgiving table, the turkeys got bigger.
Well, of course they did. It’s 2020 after all, when nothing works as it should.
I started shopping for my bird last week, knowing it would just be The Husband and I for dinner this year. I figured a nice small turkey in the 10 to 13-pound range would be good for the holiday meal, with leftovers for the weekend and bits and the bones for soup stock.
Now the wrapping for turkeys weighs about 10 pounds. At my local big-box store, I saw no bird less than 25 pounds and some at nearly 40 pounds. Who cooks 40 pounds of turkey? I like fowl, but it’s foul to consider how long I’d be eating that much turkey. I am no weak sister, but I’d need a crane to haul a 40-pound bird out the door and into my trunk, and then I’d have to lash it down, or it would slide and thunk along the weather-protected interior like a sugar-high five-year-old in a hockey rink.
When did turkey go from sensibly sized to hormone-fueled huge? I keep imagining these critters bulking up for a year on the feathered equivalent of protein shakes, egg white omelets and energy bars and getting so big they totter around the turkey house, unable to see their own feet or the floor, until Judgement Day arrives and it’s off to the meat market. No, I am not trying to talk anyone out of America’s favorite feast this month. Just consider the really too-big bird as a symbol of what’s happened to us a a society — we got bigger because we could, not because it was a good idea.
One store I stopped in had no turkeys. Turns out they get them in fresh the week of Thanksgiving, which is nice. But you have to order online. The size range for the smallest is 10-14 pounds but it comes with a warning that the final size may vary. That means it is what it is when you pick it up. If only larger birds come in, you are stuck with more gobble than you can gobble, and you’ve already given them your credit card number online.
In the end, I went with two smallish (1 1/2 and a 2 1/2 pounds each) organic hormone-free turkey breasts with the bone in. I’ll cook both; one is enough for dinner and the other is the leftovers. It’s not the Thanksgiving we are used to, but nothing this year is what we’re used to; we’ll savor and sip some good wine and be glad to still be here and healthy.