A bird in two hands


It’s been so long since I’ve eaten chicken of any kind that I can’t even remember exactly why I stopped eating chicken at all. It’s safe to say that it has been almost two decades. I’m not about to start thinking about why I stopped consuming that type of bird exactly, so I’m just going to continue with that program and trust that this decision was right for me. Nobody ever died from not eating chicken.

That said, in one of those “you can’t make this kind of thing up” scenarios, I have no problem whatsoever eating other kinds of birds or poultry including (but not limited to): ostrich, pheasant, quail and pigeon. I delight in devouring exotic birds and have been known to prepare them with finesse and flavor Considering the first time I was presented with pigeon as my entrée was while I was a naive youngster living in Egypt and all I could picture was some tired old statue of some forgotten important person in downtown Cleveland being used as a pigeon’s personal dumping ground if you will, my taste buds have come a long way.

With the holiday season upon us, we are now in the throes of turkey consumption. The minute that pumpkins start appearing in windows and Halloween candy goes on sale, the madness surrounding turkeys, their preparation, stuffing and cranberry sauce takes over TV and the Internet. No other bird or type of meat is as celebrated, venerated, dissected (both figuratively and literally) or argued over than turkey. And even though exactly one turkey (with feathers) gets pardoned by the president annually, nobody else is forgiven or gets away with preparing our national bird improperly. Nobody does that with chicken.

Turkey represents something much more than the third Thursday of November and football and pumpkin pie. It represents a percentage of people who should not otherwise enter the kitchen or know anything about cooking or how to turn on the oven doing their best to tackle a 16 lb. Butterball and magically transform it into something that everyone will eat with pleasure several hours later. It represents a sense of gathering and a reason to eat more than one’s fair share of mashed potatoes and gravy. It stands for a reason to fall asleep two hours after consumption.

More than this, turkey is a thing we get sick of (and hopefully not from) quickly, or at least until the following November arrives.

You can’t say that about chicken. I already did that 20 years ago.

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