For something like 51 weeks of the year, I pay turkey no mind. We might meet at a Renaissance Fair and I’ll lug a turkey drumstick around as a primordial snack, or at my neighborhood deli where its thin slices so softly announce themselves between pale cheddar and coarse mustard. But otherwise, turkey, for the most part, is lost to me.
Enter Thanksgiving, and turkey takes hold. We wear them on our heads and run mini marathons in their name. We debate for hours on the best ways to prepare them. We burn them, we recover them, we serve them. And very often, they’re very good—because a well-prepared Thanksgiving turkey is no small feat.
But maybe there’s time (and space!) for change. Maybe turkey, as good and traditional as it is, doesn’t have to be the crispy focal point of our mid-autumn celebrations. Of course, this is no mandate; rather, it is a thought exercise. Why don't you try swapping out that turkey for say, as Alice Medrich does, a salmon? Or catering to the predilections of your meat-eschewing guests? In this year full of surprises—both welcome and unwelcome—why not add one more?
Valerio is a freelance food writer, editor, researcher and cook. He grew up in his parent's Italian restaurants covered in pizza flour and drinking a Shirley Temple a day. Since, he's worked as a cheesemonger in New York City and a paella instructor in Barcelona. He now lives in Berlin, Germany where he's most likely to be found eating shawarma.