Admit it: There are really only two good ways to enjoy Thanksgiving turkey: fresh from the oven and carved on the table on the big day itself, and on sandwiches for days on end afterward. Everything else is more or less a sociological experiment -- a study, perhaps, on just how far you can push people before they rise up as one and say "What the hell are you doing to my turkey?"
Here: a list of what the hell some of us are doing to our turkey, both for and after the big day.
10. Turducken Whoever came up with this idea had to have been either very high or frighteningly psychotic. Seriously: it's a chicken stuffed in a duck stuffed in a turkey, traditionally served with sausage stuffing and a healthy sense of denial about the whole enterprise. 9. Bacon-Wrapped Turkey Everything tastes better with bacon, right? Well, sure, but it doesn't necessarily look better, and when you're setting the table--you know, that one day out of the year when you actually set a table, and don't eat your dinner while watching The Biggest Loser--you want that sucker to look pretty good. Not like this, which looks way too much like something out of Alien.
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Okay, so if it's done right, it probably tastes pretty great. After all, you can pretty much batter-up and deep-fry anything and it'll taste good enough to shove down your piehole at a State Fair. So why not extend that grand tradition to Thanksgiving, right? But every year, more than 70,000 Americans are maimed in turkey-frying accidents--and even if I just made that number up, it's quite sobering. A tip: if cooking something carries with it a significant possibility that your house will burn down, it's Probably not worth it.
7. Tetrazinni Everyone knows what turkey tetrazinni is: a last-ditch attempt to get one last freaking dinner out of the monster bird you cooked five days ago. It's full of all the dark meat that no one wants on their sandwiches and the little scraps that got left behind. And it's a casserole, which is precisely no one's favorite food. 6. Turkey Jerky Hey, it rhymes! That's awesome for you. And you sell it on the side of the road? Seriously, this sounds better and better. 5. Turkey Soup It's not that turkey soup is, in and of itself, bad -- it's more the reason you're making turkey soup. The reason you're not using the best parts of the bird for the meat. The reason you're boiling the bones for stock. It's not that it's awful; it's that you can taste the desperation. 4. Brown Paper Bag Turkey I'm sorry, is this turkey going on The Gong Show? Will Jamie Farr and Jaye P. Morgan sit in judgment of this turkey? Or is this turkey just too ugly to cook? Really, you've already beheaded and plucked the thing; there's really no reason to insult the turkey, too. 3. Beer Can Turkey Yes, this is going to take a 40, at least. And no, you really can't pull this off unless you're having Thanksgiving dinner with Billy Dee Williams. 2. Swanson's Turkey Dinner We can thank 1953 for the advent of this tin-tasting little slice of the atomic age. But really, even in 1953, people knew this was wrong. If this is your best option for Thanksgiving-type dinner? It's time to give up. 1. Tofurkey You want to serve this on Thanksgiving? To people for whom you are thankful? Seriously: go tofurkey yourself.