Essays

Turkey v. Ham

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What should we have for Thanksgiving–turkey or ham?

Here in Carpenter Country, where a big Butterball has always been king, that question never came up before. But maybe now, since there are fewer of us at home, changing old habits might be a good idea.

After all a gobbler is time intensive, at least in the early stages of preparation. If frozen, an 8-12 pounder can take up to three days to thaw. Add the hours needed to stuff and roast and there’s another day in the kitchen. Then you need a carver…

Ham would be much faster. No thawing, no stuffing, anyone can slice it.

Yet letting go of a fixed ritual is hard to do. Even though country ham, canned ham and whole ham have been around for decades, serving it at Thanksgiving hardly seems traditional. And if we alter a long established custom this year, what will be on next year’s menu–roast beef, duck, a pork loin?

So maybe we could do something different with the bird, like deep frying it. But then we’d have to change the sides from sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce to French fries.

Decisions, decisions! If we don’t make one soon, we may be eating out. So let’s combine tradition with something cutting-edge. We’ll order the time-honored turkey, plus a brown sugar glazed ham, and have the supermarket do the cooking.

Happy Thanksgiving to that!

And a wonderful Thanksgiving to all, no matter what tradition you choose.

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