If you believe in American exceptionalism, then the last thing you should be doing is eating this second-rate bird this week.
In two days, families will congregate around dinner tables across this great country and eat turkey that someone spent many hours cooking just so it can be half as good as the rolls, cranberry sauce, and stuffing that share its plate. The turkey, with its bronzed skin, will sit at the head of the table and, like Anne Hathaway, beg to be worshipped. It, like Hathaway, might even smell good. But this is a sham, and you'll know it the moment you put the stringy white meat (the turkey, not Hathaway) in your mouth.
Here's why turkey is actually a Thanksgiving fraud:
Turkeys Cannot Have Sex
One of the most pathetic things about the turkey is that it cannot have sex its own. Left to their own devices, turkeys would die out because they can't reproduce. A 2010 report from the Humane Society found that the turkeys we eat for Thanksgiving are too fat to fornicate. "Turkeys have been bred for such heavy body weight that they are physically incapable of mating, necessitating artificial insemination via tube or syringe," the report explained.
Don't Americans want to eat an animal that has plenty of crazy sex ... like lobsters? Or shrimp? The turkey is one of the animals, along with pandas and French bulldogs that need human help when breeding. Unlike the panda and French bulldogs, the turkey is not cute.
Granted, turkeys were bred this way because of American whims. Though, that should be even one more reason we should do away with turkeys.
Turkeys Are Not Worth Pardoning
Turkeys who get a presidential pardon don't usually make it to their second Thanksgiving. By then, they're usually found dead of heart disease, National Journal reports. These are wastes of pardons.
Turkeys Are Not Very Tasty
"If it ain't broke, don't fix it," a wise person once said. That person was not referring to turkey. That's why people have many different theories on how to prepare turkey: brines, butters, stuffings, basting, injections, etc. Turkeys might be the only animal on this planet that are so boring that they need to be stuffed with two other animals (ducks and chickens) to become delicious.
The Leftovers Theorem: The true heroes of Thanksgiving are the sides. Mashed potatoes, mac n' cheese, cranberry sauce, rolls, stuffing, green bean casserole, parsnips — Thanksgiving hosts will have none of these left by the end of the night. What they will have are mounds and mounds of turkey (despite all the preparation done to make sure it tastes wonderful).
The Fried Chicken Theorem: Thanksgiving would be a better holiday if, instead of turkey, Americans would celebrate and congregate around a mountain of buttermilk fried chicken (fried in shortening).
The "If It's So Good" Theorem: If roast turkey was as good as some people would have you believe, why do we only do it at Thanksgiving and Christmas? Shouldn't we be roasting turkeys left and right or even as much as chickens? And why do they need to be mixed with everything else like cranberry sauce and gravy to achieve their best taste? Finally, shouldn't turkey be better than the fourth-favorite protein in America?
Turkeys Are Dangerous
Nope. No, turkeys are not like the winged bringers of doom known as Peregrine falcons. They're not even half as cool (partly because turkeys are not real birds). The only damage that a turkey can really inflict upon a human is from beyond the grave and it fully depends on a human making mistakes.
Because turkeys don't taste good (we went over this) people have come up with ways to make them taste better. One of those ways is to deep-fry the bird. Deep-frying things automatically makes them taste good. I would wager that dishrags would taste good deep-fried. The thing with turkeys is that deep-frying is especially dangerous because these cumbersome birds require large amounts of oil and fire.
According to State Farm insurance, "more than twice as many cooking fires occur on Thanksgiving than any other day of the year" and November is known in some circles as the month of the turkey fire. Texas leads the country in deep-fryer turkey accidents. That's why we have frightening videos of turkey carcasses unleashing fiery doom.
What kind of food can burn down your house via grease fire? Oh, right, turkey. Could you imagine explaining how you lost your house because of a turkey grease fire? Fight the power.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.