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A Turkey Showdown

54541Tomorrow, thousands of students will be sitting down to a more-elaborate-than-usual family dinner, most centered around a turkey. But is the traditional turkey the best main course for your get-together, or are there better options? Three Bwog writers make their cases.

Turducken: A turducken is a fine southern tradition, an exercise in the economy of space, and one of the more controversial takes on the Thanksgiving turkey known to the Food Channel. Or more simply, turducken is a portmanteau for the contents of the dish – a turkey stuffed with a duck, itself stuffed with a chicken; all boneless, all delicious.

The next question being, naturally, how does that work, mechanically speaking? The answer I like to give involves vigorous horizontal arm pumping and some rather R-rated sodomy jokes. The truth of the matter, though, is that no matter how hard one shoved, the suppository method of stuffing the birds would never work without a substantial amount of inedible lubrication and some broken bones. So instead, one must debone their birds. Occasionally a little torque (and a SEAS student to explain how to apply torque) may be necessary to break some of the stronger connections. Then, create pockets under the skin of each bird without separating the skin from the meat and rub down with a sauce of choice. Finally, coat the cavity of the turkey with a layer of stuffing, lay the duck inside the turkey’s body cavity and similarly cover its cavity with stuffing, laying the chicken, filled with stuffing, upon that.

When your writer created this dish this past weekend, most of his McBain floormates came away with favorable reactions to the creation. Some people think a turducken is an abomination. I ask you, though, how is this any different from the twisted act of stuffing breadcrumbs up the thing’s rear? At least I gave my turducken (I named mine Brock) some dignity and character. Well, for the most part. There is nothing wrong about the turducken. Well, nothing wrong that is unique to the turducken. At the very least, turducken is a great conversation starter and a consuming, passionate endeavor. For anyone looking to re-spark his or her love of cooking (or with a screw loose and a few hours to spare), I highly recommend it.

– Mark Hay

Tofurkey: To celebrate the generosity of New World natives and the mooching of expatriate Puritans, many will sit down this Thanksgiving to salivate over a turkey centerpiece. Of course, the Puritans had set out to hunt eagles.   But, as luck would have it, Turkey was Plan B, and now it’s the mass-produced bird of choice. The great minds of the 20th century, though, responded with the Tofurkey- one and half pounds of organic tofu, wheat gluten, beans, and sage and onion flavors sculpted into an awkwardly oversized egg.  And, while its appearance may be absolutely repulsive, its taste is just fine and there are valid reasons for its consumption.

Being a mass-produced bird means that, according to PETA, this family treat will most likely have suffered punching, stomping, slamming, and sexual molestation all while shackled with 50,000 of its peers.  Additionally, Newsweek On-Air reports that since these factory-farmed birds are generally too heavy to reproduce, they are artificially inseminated and spend the majority of their short, fat lives sitting and waiting for their fated debut. Also, Tofurkeys are not abused nor are they vaccinated with saline and vegetable oil solutions like their juicy butterball half-brothers. Not the most appetizing set of facts to be thinking about when you’re competing for the dark meat.

Of course, there is also the enivromental appeal of this 100% Vegan bombshell. In fact, Tofurkey use releases a lower amount of greenhouse gas emissions, because of all the energy that goes into feeding and creating a regular turkey.  Tofurkeys hve even eliminated 570 million tons of manure yearly, for the simple reason that Tofurkeys can’t go poop.

Beyond the ethical causes, Turtle Island Foods claims that you can microwave your Tofurkey, most Tofurkeys are Kosher, and they can last three to four days in the mini fridge…not to mention they are actually quite delicious.  So if you’ve already put your Tofurkey out to thaw for the mandatory 24 hours, there are a bunch of reasons for you to be proud of your feast.

– Sarah Camiscoli

Turkey: I’m not sure what country the previous two writers grew up in, but I’m proud to be an American, where turkey–pure, non-defiled, oven-cooked turkey–reigns. Thanksgiving is a time for family, reflection, and tradition; it’s not a time for experimenting and messing with something that was already perfect to begin with. At least for the majority of us (that is, the omnivores), the exquisite mix of turkey meat, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, peas, and so much more simply is not the same without the traditional style of turkey preparation.

The process of transforming turkey to meal is also quite a tradition that shouldn’t be tampered with. I have fond memories of going to the grocery store and helping my parents pick out a turkey (and for the more hardcore of us: riding in the back of your dad’s truck with shotgun in hand), watching it slowly cook to perfection in our oven, and then helping cut and serve it. Notice how there is no arm pumping involved in any of that process.

And finally, Thanksgiving is a break for us; why spoil that time off with complications? The truth is simple: the only alternative there should be to turkey is turkey. A bigger one.

– David Hu

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  • seas kid says:

    @seas kid As delicious as everything going into turducken may be the final construction is basically the worst way to cook the thing.

    Let’s look at a diagram:

    oven heat –> turkey –> duck –> chicken

    but each bird has it’s own ideal final temperature, which is:

    oven heat –> 145 –> 125 –> 145

    this just won’t happen. unless you poach each bird separately as you assemble the thing, you’re going to have an overcooked turkey and an overcooked duck just by cooking the chicken to a safe temperature.

    1. An engineer says:

      @An engineer What if the thermal conductivities of the different meats are in fact adequate for proper cooking?

      1. seas kid says:

        @seas kid if you were a real engineer, you’d know that it’s impossible.

  • Seriously says:

    @Seriously “Occasionally a little torque (and a SEAS student to explain how to apply torque) ”

    Bwog, this is why I hate you.

  • you didn't says:

    @you didn't mention that the turduken has to be deep fried. Trust me: I’m from Louisiana.

    1. and says:

      @and stuffed with sausage and cornbread stuffing. Trust me: I’m also from Louisiana.

  • yay! says:

    @yay! i love tofurkey :D

  • eww says:

    @eww Wow, that is a disgusting picture of a turkey.

    1. Be glad... says:

      @Be glad... they didn’t post the one of him fisting it.

    2. really? says:

      @really? oh stop. as if you don’t know where your poultry comes from. yes! turkeys do have blood!

  • trader joe says:

    @trader joe Yeah, the new one on 72 and Broadway is supposed to open in July.

    1. ALERT RESPONDER says:


    2. enormous cratic says:

      @enormous cratic OH MY GOD THAT IS WONDERFUL.

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