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Why Turkey Will Never Be the True Star of Thanksgiving

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Utah chapter.

When you think of Thanksgiving, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Turkey. It’s safe to say that at least 98.5 percent of the American population would say “turkey.” Turkey has always been the star of Thanksgiving. It has been the centerpiece of every hot-glued Thanksgiving craft project invovling pipeline and pom-poms, and it has defined the Thanksgiving feast. In other words, if there’s no turkey, it’s not Thanksgiving.

Even though turkey is Thanksgiving’s trademark…it is by no means the true star of the meal. Admit it, most times you’re left with a dry, tasteless piece of meat that is only edible when drowned in pools of gravy. If we’re being honest, we keep turkey around because its the tradition that constitutes an American Thanksgiving.

If you think about it, turkey is just like the Queen of England: she’s the “star” of her country.. but not really. Although Queen Elizabeth II has a few duties in her position, she mainly just serves as the symbol and face of her country – just like turkey. England could carry on without its Queen (sorry, Queen Elizabeth) just as the Thanksgiving feast could without the turkey. The feast wouldn’t have its “face,” but the other succulent side-dishes would effortlessly fill the role.

Think of stuffing, mashed potatoes, rolls, pies, and sweet potato casserole with slightly toasted marshmallows on top – wouldn’t we be fine without the turkey if we had all of these delicious “sides?” Yes, yes we would, because in all honesty, when we’re loading up our plates at Thanksgiving, we might take some of the cooked bird out of politeness, but we really only came for the warm stuffing and fluffy potatoes.

Besides that, out of all the delicious dishes at the Thanksgiving table, the turkey requires the most preparation, patience, and struggle. Most of the time, it takes at least five hours alone to cook the turkey, and that doesn’t even count thawing it out, seasoning it, etc. Aside from taking five milleniums to cook, turkeys are also very difficult to cook perfectly. It’s far too easy to overcook, undercook, and underseason the turkey. Basically, if it weren’t for turkey, Thanksgiving feast preparation would not be such a painful, arduous task. There would be more time for family, friends, and football. And bonus: the mountain of dishes that follows the feast would significantly decrease. 

Turkey isn’t abominable – it never has been. It’s just that it better fits the role of a supporting actress than the lead. It’s the symbol of the national holiday where we stuff our faces and increase our waistlines, but that’s all it is. In my opinion, Monica got it right when she used it as a headpiece instead. 

Her Campus Utah Chapter Contributor