Learning How to Embrace Thanksgiving Turkey

As Thanksgiving 2011 winds down, I thought I’d share this fun piece the playwright Wajahat Ali wrote for Salon about how his family eventually came to embraced that “confounding bird,” the turkey:

Now, I don’t begrudge my parents their position toward turkey. It’s a confounding bird for most immigrants, who are generally more comfortable with the bleats of a goat or a lamb, the squawks of the simple-minded chicken. The turkey was an enigma: a heavy, feathered bird with its “gobbledygook” mutterings, freakish red wattle and vast supply of dry, juiceless meat.     “Do the Amreekans realize it is dry?” ask my still perplexed relatives living in Pakistan. “Where is the masala? The taste? The juices? Why do they eat this bird?”  


What did you serve this Thanksgiving? Did you desi-fy your turkey? (Aarti Sequeira has a recipe for tandoori turkey here.) I grew up in a vegetarian household, so no turkey for me, but we did have pumpkin raita and cranberry chutney on the table as a nod to the holiday.

3 thoughts on “Learning How to Embrace Thanksgiving Turkey

  1. I wrote about what we had for dinner this year – it was a pretty traditional Thanksgiving, except that we swapped ham for the turkey. It ended up dry anyway, but a lot less work 🙂 http://houseofpeanut.blogspot.com/2011/11/thanksgiving-project-management.html

    The only desified thing I made was my mom’s green bean curry – dry stir-fried with coconut, mustard seeds and urad dal. Hubby’s family has a low spice tolerance so I made mashed sweet potatoes instead of the spicy ones I wanted to try 😉

    I did see a friend’s Facebook feed and she made a yummy-looking cranberry pickle. I’m intrigued by that.

    Growing up, we never had turkey. I think I was in high school before I had an actual American Thanksgiving dinner. My mom always invited all the relatives, and we had a big Indian meal (vegetarian, of course, though every now and then an egg curry or chicken curry may have appeared.)

  2. I was only permitted desification w/my cranberry chutney, which really isn’t saying much. It’s pretty whitebread in my household for this one holiday. : \

  3. I am not a big fan of Turkey. I have had beef, chicken, lamb, pork, turkey. No real attachment to turkey. BUt once in a while, we will have a homemade turkey.

    As far as the dry remark about turkey, that is why we have gravy. The gravy is not just for the mashed potatoes