Thanksgiving 2020: Talking Turkey

Though Covid-19 continues to cast a pall on big Thanksgiving celebrations this year, many Easton families have been busily menu planning. After all, we have to eat. But with fewer places around the table, are turkeys the main event this year?

Not surprisingly, Eastonites have a range of opinions on the matter.

“Two of my kids are vegan and insist on tofu turkey, or tofurky, or some other vegan meal,” said Leslie Minasi. “My sister is allergic and can’t eat it at all, but I love turkey and to hell with everybody else.”

Unclear what Dolly Curtis will be having at Thanksgiving this year, but she offered sympathy for turkeys. “I think of the two fat birds that the president pardons each year. That’s what we are going to kill for our traditional meal? Ouch.”

Courier Editor Anne-Marie Somma has never had a turkey conflict. “I grew up in an Italian-American household where lasagna took center stage at our Thanksgiving Day meals. My mother did not entirely forego the American turkey tradition, she just bought the smallest bird she could find at the supermarket and served it as a side dish. Ciao!”  

Some locals are regretting the absence of the “big boy butterball.” Greiser’s own Adrienne Jane Burke is among them. “My feelings about the traditional Thanksgiving meal were transformed 10 years ago when I began spending the holiday with my husband’s family of professional chefs. Turkey accompanied by Uncle Steve’s chestnut-sausage stuffing and chestnut gravy prepared from the previous year’s frozen turkey demi-glacé is transcendent.

“Jeff and I will sadly miss that (and, of course, Uncle Steve, Aunt Barby, six cousins, their six babies, and the ritual final course of aged Port with them all) as we dine alone at home on Cornish game hens and craft beer this week.” 

Selectman Bob Lessler shared his sentiments about turkey and more broadly, the significance of the holiday. “…We always have an enormous turkey on Thanksgiving — at least 24 pounds. We love leftovers.  This year, however, it will be just the two of us.

“Our two daughters live in Tampa and LA. Fortunately, our Tampa daughter and her husband were recently able to visit. We decided to do a pre-Thanksgiving dinner with them. My wife made all the fixings, but we had Cornish hens as the poultry main dish.  For Thanksgiving itself, she ordered a 10- to 12-pound turkey. Mere skin and bones by our standards!

“We will Zoom together with our kids on the big day.  I guess the point is that whatever size or type your bird may be, if you share it with family, that’s all that really matters,” Lessler said.

Nancy Doniger, the Courier’s executive editor, remains a turkey diehard. “My earliest Thanksgiving memory dates back to my toddler days, hanging out under the dining room table with Fluffy, my aunt and uncle’s dog. The aroma of turkey, fixings, and fresh-baked pies wafted throughout the house as we waited for the feast to begin. I remember the scents, sounds and sights as if it were only yesterday. These days I go for mostly plant-based foods, but not on Thanksgiving. Pass the turkey, gravy and stuffing, please. No tofurkey for me!”

For our family it will be a quiet affair unlike the huge extended family gatherings in Thanksgivings past. A roast chicken, a nice wine and a prayer for future holidays with those we miss and love.

All of us at the Courier wish you a safe and peaceful Thanksgiving regardless of what’s on your menu. Bon Appetit!

Wild turkey image at top by Tomas Koeck Photography.

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