Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Columns

November 6, 2012

Pre-holiday turkey ban brings greater appreciation of Thanksgiving meal

As part of my pre-Thanksgiving tradition I have eliminated anything turkey related from my diet in order to prepare for the big day.

I had my last turkey meal in the form of a turkey sub sandwich last Sunday, and now I am working hard to keep turkey out of my diet until the holiday. I have found myself tempted by cold cuts in recent days as the result of swearing them off temporarily.  

In fact, the temptation to indulge is just one more turkey sandwich seems to have tripled for me since I decided I had to wait until the holiday, but I know breaking down and consuming more turkey will just leave me with less of a taste for the big bird on Thanksgiving. Some years, I have even gone so far as to limit my chicken intake ahead of the holiday so I don’t get tired of poultry before the big day.

My reasoning is simple: leftovers.

No matter how many people come to our family Thanksgiving there always seem to be weeks’ worth of turkey leftovers for everyone to take home with them and consume. Growing up, it was easy to get sick of the turkey sandwiches, turkey turnovers and turkey pot pies that made up the post-Thanksgiving menu sometimes well into December.

I like turkey. Turkey sandwiches were always one of my favorites growing up, and my brother and I had some very fierce fights when younger over who got the drumstick at Thanksgiving.

For us, breaking the wishbone wasn’t as important as making sure you secured one of those turkey legs on your plate. However, even I have my limitations.

Any food can get tiresome when you are subjected to it day after day after day. After months of eating frozen waffles for breakfast as a kid, I found I could no longer stand the sight of them. The same thing happened for a while with peanut butter sandwiches and the canned ravioli I used to bring with my school lunches. I suppose, as they say, too much of a good thing can be bad.

The holidays are often the perfect example of being subjected to too much of a good thing. In addition to tiring of turkey on Thanksgiving, I have often found myself easily growing tired of our family’s traditional Christmas ham in the weeks leading into the New Year. Like turkey, ham sandwiches can only be consumed so many days in a row.

The meal is always great the first time around, but when you gorged on turkey on Thanksgiving or holiday ham, the last thing you want to do is have it for lunch and supper the next day or the day after that. Part of it is the same-old, same-old mentality, and I suppose the other part is just the craving for variety in my diet. Whatever the reason, eating turkey morning, noon and night is a sure fire way to make sure you never want to see any turkey meat for at least another year.

As kids, we had to eat the leftovers first. There was no making a new meal until all of the turkey and ham leftover from the holidays had been eaten up. We would beg our parents to order a pizza or something equally fast and quick, but our parents would remind us that there were plenty of leftovers still in the fridge we had to eat up before they started spending money on other food. Sometimes, that waste-not, want-not attitude got on our nerves, but somehow all the leftovers were eaten. Of course, turkey sandwich meat was not a top priority on the grocery list for a while afterward.

So, in the days following the holidays we would open the fridge desperately searching for something to eat only to find that plastic container of turkey, green beans, mashed potatoes and other holiday leftovers we had so been trying to avoid. Sometimes, growing tired of leftovers, we would complain that there was “nothing” to eat in the house, only to get sarcastic suggestions from our parents or be reminded of how many children were starving and would gladly eat our turkey leftovers.

As I got older, I figured out avoiding these foods before the holiday was helpful in preventing getting tired of them after the holiday. A week to two weeks ahead of the holiday, I try to purge turkey from my diet and not overwhelm myself with foods I know will be on the Thanksgiving table.

 I find I can appreciate the meal much more that way, and those who cooked whatever I consume feel much better when they see their hard work is being enjoyed.

Thanksgiving is probably the most gluttonous holiday on the calendar, but I have learned that indulging in a big meal with family and friends doesn’t have to mean going overboard.

Kate Coil is a reporter at the Daily Telegraph. Contact her at kcoil@bdtonline.com.

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