5 Alternative Uses for Your Thanksgiving TurkeyOn November 25, 2020 by Elyse
Sure, turkey tastes delicious when it’s sitting on your Thanksgiving plate or Zoom screen, doused in cranberry sauce—or cantaloupe, if you’re 10-year-old me. (I know, I was a weird child.) However, this holiday staple is good for so much more than a food coma and a week of leftovers.
If 2020 hasn’t been strange enough for you, no need to waste a wishbone hoping for some new traditions to gobble down:
1. Target practice
. . . But you’re the target.
The [turkey] had been wounded [by a hunter’s gun], but only winged, and ran away when it fell to the ground. The man who fired at it laid down his gun hurriedly and gave chase, when a game of hide and seek took place among the brushwood.
In one of its doublings and turnings the bird passed over the gun, which was lying on the ground, and its toes happened to strike against the trigger of the undischarged barrel, the hammer of which had been left at full cock, with the result that the charge went off and wounded the sportsman.– The South Wales Echo, October 16, 1900
Kids, don’t play hide-and-seek with a gun-toting turkey.
2. Just desserts
Even if it’s not technically a dessert, revenge is a dish best served when it’s already in your boss’ digestive tract.
“When I was city editor of the ‘Virginia City Enterprise,’” remarked Mark Twain at a dinner in New York, “a fine turkey was one day left at the office. Turkeys were rare in that high altitude, and we all hankered after this bird. But the editor claimed it. He took it home and had it cooked for dinner. The next day, as he was expatiating on the turkey’s richness, a letter was handed to him. He opened it and read ‘Mr. Editor—Sir—Yesterday I sent you a turkey which has been the cause of much dispute among us. To settle a bet, will you kindly state in tomorrow’s issue what it died of?”– The Evening Express, April 4, 1907
3. Judicial proceedings
This Thanksgiving, save yourself a fortune on legal fees, and let your turkey adjudicate any long-simmering family disputes.
A question between landlord and tenant in Ireland has just been decided by appeal, not to an assistant barrister, but to a turkey. The landlord, going for his rent, was told he need not trouble himself to call, because the turkey had decided that he was “a done man.”
A meeting had been held in the house. A table was placed in the middle of the floor and the turkey put upon it. The company then formed a circle round the table, and the turkey was asked by the defendant whether the landlord would lose his case. The bird nodded to intimate that he would — had the answer been unfavourable the creature would have turned away. And the turkey was right, for two arbitrators who were appointed found that no rent was due.
Of course the magistrate thought such superstition shocking in the “nineteenth century,” but, to our thinking, a turkey on a table is as likely to give a fair answer as a table without a turkey, and yet the latter is consulted by educated people of this enlightened age.– The County Observer and Monmouthshire Central Advertiser, July 9, 1870
4. Wealth creation
On Friday night, 29th December, writes a Liverpool gentleman, I bought in St. John’s Market a Canadian turkey, weighing 18 ½ lbs., for which I paid 10s 6d, thinking that I would have a nice treat with my family on New Year’s day. I undertook to pluck and prepare the bird.
Curiosity made me examine the pebbles and corn which were in the craw, when, to my great surprise, I found among them a stud such as is worn in a gentleman’s shirt. I showed it to two friends who are jewellers, and they both say it is a diamond mounted in fine gold, and worth at least £30.– The South Wales Echo, January 3, 1894
It’s like playing the lottery, except if you lose, at least you have dinner.
5. Art criticism
A well-known Hanley artist, who prefers to remain anonymous, is the principal figure in the story, and he states that during the last week-end he was sketching some ruins in a field not far [from] the Potteries, when a full-grown turkey approached. Finding the bird’s attentions unwelcome, he endeavoured to frighten it away, whereupon the bird suddenly made a vicious attack upon him, shooting its beak into his face in a dangerous manner.
Under these circumstances, is there any other manner?
Taken off his guard, he retreated, and the bird proceeded to demolish his sketch, afterwards resuming the combat, which lasted fully fifteen minutes. Snake-like darts of the bird’s head, made with lightning rapidity, brought the turkey’s beak unpleasantly near the artist’s eyes, and though he rained kicks on his feathered assailant they took no effect whatever.
All his attempts to get to close quarters and seize it by the neck were unavailing, and it was not until the artist was thoroughly exhausted that his cries for help brought a party of golfers and farmhands to the scene, and the turkey was driven to flight.– The Cardiff Times, April 30, 1910
Perhaps the homicidal turkey was a sign that the artist should’ve listened to his mother and gone to law school instead of art school.
See last year’s Thanksgiving post for the tail, uh, tale, of a diabolical turkey who waited seven long years to enact his revenge on one very obnoxious schoolgirl.
This year, I’m thankful for readers like you—yes, you! From my cantaloupe-laden table to yours, I’m wishing you:
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Disclaimer: The modern era is far from the first to grapple with rampant “fake news.” As I am neither a historian nor journalist, I make no claims about the accuracy or lack thereof of the above sources. I assert only that they make for a good story.
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