Please do not cook a stupid 'stunt' turkey

Freedom from want
Public Domain Detail from Freedom From Want/Norman Rockwell

In which Anthony Bourdain's 'stunt' turkey ruffles this writer's feathers.

First things first, I have loved reading Anthony Bourdain's books and am generally charmed by his take on things. But this, from Parade, has me squawking:

Chef and television personality Anthony Bourdain is here to help with a no-nonsense strategy from his new cookbook, Appetites. His surprise tip: Roast two turkeys. One is a small “stunt” bird you’ll gussy up and present a la Norman Rockwell; the other is a bigger “business” bird that yields plenty of meat to feed everyone, plus lots of leftovers for your own enjoyment later.

And as seen in Food & Wine:

Anthony Bourdain's Thanksgiving turkey is as simple as it gets. He suggests making two birds – one that you can parade at the table, dressed up "like a showgirl, with chop frills and elaborate fruit garnishes on a bed of old-school parsley or kale," and another that's already carved in the kitchen, ready to be served.

Now granted, Anthony Bourdain surely wants to present a perfect turkey – he's Anthony Bourdain, after all. And he probably has enough people coming over and both turkeys will hopefully be devoured. But unless you make your living being a food celebrity or are having a lot of people over for Thanksgiving – give the poor turkeys a break. Must two turkeys per dinner table die so that guests don't have to suffer the horrors of tableside carving? Animals shouldn't serve as props, it just doesn't fly.

Turkey lives aside, my main gripe is about food waste:

This year, 204 million pounds of Thanksgiving turkey meat – at a cost of $277 million – will get tossed in the trash.

Even if you get two smaller turkeys for your "stunt + business" duo instead of one jumbo one, and even if you eat all the meat ... there will be waste. There will be two sets of bones and all the other icky parts that people don't eat. And there will have been significantly more resources going into raising, slaughtering, shipping, and even cooking two birds rather than one. So instead of giving thanks for a showgirl on the table, skip the stunt bird and give thanks not for not being part of an embarrassing excess of waste.

OK, done grousing. Happy Thanksgiving!

Stunt turkeyDave/flickr/CC BY 2.0

Tags: Cooking | Holidays | Waste

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