By Casey Turton
Carolina Men Editior
Now begins the celebration of the family holiday meal, those gatherings when many of us sit down together to revel in the traditional roasted turkey getting carved by the man of the house.
There’s no doubt we love our holiday meals, but let’s confess something, most men can’t carve a bird to save their life. I know I can’t. Maybe Ward Cleaver could wear a suit and tie and never make a mess, but that ain’t me.
New York Times author Georgia Dullea wrote about this well-kept secret about the lack of carving talent many men have. “This is a time when women of all ages complain that men in their 20’s and 30’s cannot carve Thanksgiving turkeys the way their fathers and grandfathers did. Men do not deny it.”
Ms. Dullea goes on to claim the art of carving a bird is lost because meat consumption, including turkey, is down. It’s just not cool anymore to cook up a 20-pound butterball, she wrote.
Not so fast, says the turkey industry.
“In 2011, more than 248.5 million turkeys were raised. More than 219 million were consumed in the United States. We estimate that 46 million of those turkeys were eaten at Thanksgiving, 22 million at Christmas and 19 million at Easter,” the website eatturkey.com reports.
The site went on, “nearly 88 percent of Americans surveyed by the National Turkey Federation eat turkey at Thanksgiving. The average weight of turkeys purchased for Thanksgiving is 16 pounds, meaning that approximately 736 million pounds of turkey were consumed in the United States during Thanksgiving in 2011.”
16 pounds! Holy cow. That’s as much as my bowling ball weighed back in the day. Now, I admit I like turkey for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but one thing I have against turkey is the 2 weeks of leftovers in the fridge. Pretty much done with turkey for the year when New Year’s Eve hits.
There’s lot of advice in books, on television and on the web about how to carve a turkey, so we won’t get into that here. Just suffice it to say my carved bird never produces those evenly-sliced, neatly-piled, deliciously arranged portions like we want.
What I really wanted to write about was how holiday meals are at the center of keeping families together these days. The world has changed and we many families, including my own, have relatives scattered everywhere. Just to sit down together for Thanksgiving takes travel agents, extra days off work or school, stressed nerves and back-breaking schedules.
Yet we insist on having that meal.
David Damm of Greenville notes that “Thanksgiving is the one time of the year when all of our family attempts to get together at my parent’s home. It’s a special event in which each one of us helps in preparing the meal. The day begins with the women decorating the dining area while gossiping and bragging about their children. The men will help in the preparation with various duties but only during TV commercials. The children will keep each of us attentive to their activities most of the day and may, from time to time, put their hands in a few of the dishes to make sure the meal is cooked properly. Our Thanksgiving is a family effort for sure.”
David paints a pretty accurate picture, doesn’t he? Guys on the couch, women in the kitchen, kids singing holiday carols (ok, so maybe not…texting and playing video games more like it).
So, don’t get excited if your turkey isn’t carved to perfection. Or maybe you’ve an alternative meal planned. Some folks go with meat, fish and pork. Some folks are vegetarian and have their own tasty meal ideas.
Whatever your plate holds, enjoy it with your family and take a moment this holiday season to help those who may not be lucky enough to complain about the hack job Dad did on the turkey.