One time per year; that’s it. Pecan pie, sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and turkey are limited to one day out of three hundred and sixty five, but I say “NO MORE!” (Or should that be “Please, sir, I want some more.”?)
I’m starting a new holiday: June Turkey. (Jurkey, perhaps? Or Junesgiving?) Thanksgiving dinner is so good, we need to eat it more often, and eating it in the summer might be even better than November. Here are the benefits as I see it:
1. It never hurts to be thankful. The USofA would be a better place if we gave thanks more and ate less. Chew on this for a moment: If your family income is $10,000 a year, you are wealthier than 84 percent of the world. We’re struggling to eat healthier in the face of an overabundance of junk food; much of the world is struggling to eat enough in the face of an under-abundance of any food.
Maybe Gratitudiet should be a new diet craze: write a thank you note to a farmer, grocer, or God before you eat…EVERY time before you eat. The eventual hand cramps will limit our ability to use forks or spoons and slow down our caloric intake.
2. No more pressure to stuff yourself silly on Thanksgiving Day. You only have to wait 182.5 days for the next turkey instead of 364; ie the world will not end if you don’t eat another mountain of mashed potatoes.
It’s actually a great idea to fill a second plate, just make sure you save it to eat later (hours later, people, not minutes!). Sometimes knowing I get to repeat a great meal helps remove the temptation to go for seconds NOW.
3. Better veggies. Let’s face it, summer is the time of year when vegetables are growing, so it’s easier to find them fresh and cheap. Instead of green bean casserole, you can have fresh green beans. Peel and cook some turnips and mix them with the potatoes for some extra nutritious mashed tubers. Take the recipe for sweet potatoes and cut the “good stuff” (butter, sugar, marshmallows) in half, or try roasting them with olive oil and cinnamon. The more vegetables you add to your meal, and the closer to “naked” you eat them, the more you can fill your plate, fill your belly, and stay on track for a healthy lifestyle.
4. Practice, practice, practice. Ladies of my generation, if your mother, grandmother, or mother-in-law usually cooks the turkey, then you probably have no clue how that sucker gets from fridge to table. But your day is coming! Granted, by the time we’ve become the matriarchs, we’ll probably be able to click on a turkey on Amazon and it’ll be shipped directly to our oven fully cooked, but it’s still a good skill to have so you can brag to your grandchildren that you cooked your own bird back in the “good old days”.
I used to think it was really complicated, but one day I saw turkey on sale for 69 cents a pound and thought “It’s just a giant chicken! At 69 cents per pound, I’m willing to take a risk and try it.” I discovered it’s pretty easy. The hardest part is manhandling the slippery carcass. Rinsing the bird is like giving a one year old a bath in the sink, just less messy.
Here’s what you do: buy a turkey now while they’re on sale. If you’re an awful cook, buy two: you need the practice. Put it in the freezer. (I once forgot about a turkey in the back of my freezer for a year and it cooked up just fine. Make sure you grease the chain saw with olive oil before you slice it. Just kidding :)) Check the weather in June and pick the hottest, most humid day you can for your Junesgiving; you’re not going outside anyway, so you may as well make the house smell good!
There are two traditional Thanksgiving dishes that I haven’t found a healthy “fix” for: stuffing and pecan pie. I made a sweet potato-pecan pie last year that my husband loved because it wasn’t sickly sweet, but I can’t call it healthy. And stuffing is stale bread baked in turkey grease; if you remove the grease part, you’re left with bad croutons instead of turkey-belly-ambrosia. I think this calls for some experimentation! What if it were zucchini cubes baked in turkey grease?
That’s what’s so great about Jurkey! You can try new ways to eat great food without 17 relatives critiquing your stale bread and turkey grease! I’ll let you know how the zucchini stuffing turns out. I’m off to buy my June Turkey; it’s on sale today for sixty EIGHT cents a pound.
“I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.” Psalm 69:30