Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Bother With a Turkey This Year

This year, defined by a global pandemic and a presidential election, means an untraditional Thanksgiving for many Americans. COVID-19 cases are currently rising across much of the country (and in other parts of the world) and that means that gatherings (if they happen at all) will probably be smaller than usual this year. A different kind of holiday might be welcome to some, but for others, it’s a serious bummer. The silver lining, if you ask me? Because there’s going to be so little about the day that feels usual, all bets can be off. There aren’t any Thanksgiving rules. You can cook or not, get dressed up or not, take things virtual or not. There. Are. No. Thanksgiving. Rules. Which means that this year, there’s frankly no need to bother with a turkey.

For some, Thanksgiving isn’t Thanksgiving without a perfectly roasted turkey in the center of their table. But turkey is absolutely the most underwhelming part of the meal in my opinion. It’s not that you can’t make the dish taste good, you definitely can, it’s just that it’s hard for the turkey to upstage or even try to compete with the other things on the table. So this year, consider opting out of the turkey altogether.

If you absolutely must have something turkey-like on the table, consider roasting a chicken this year instead. I know, I know, it’s not the same as turkey, but they’re lower-stress, smaller (read: you won’t be eating leftovers for weeks), and, frankly, meets the criteria of a Thanksgiving main without feeling too fussy. It’s humble and no big deal and that’s pretty much all you need from it this year.

 

There aren’t any Thanksgiving rules. You can cook or not, get dressed up or not, take things virtual or not. There. Are. No. Thanksgiving. Rules. Which means that this year, there’s frankly no need to bother with a turkey.

 

 

If you’re not attached to a turkey-like main dish, but do still want something in the middle of your table, my best advice is to pick whatever you like best. It can’t be said enough: there are no rules this year. You want to eat lasagne on Thanksgiving? That sounds great. A roast sound more your speed? Go for it!

My personal preference would be to skip that main dish altogether and instead just focus on the sides (and desserts, naturally). Is there anything better than loading your plate full of mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, stuffing (or dressing), cranberry sauce (yes, I really do like it), Brussels sprouts, and the like? If you ask me, there is not (other than maybe a plate full of pie after dinner). Focus on the dishes you actually like this year and let any that are lackluster or that no one eats anyway fall by the wayside. The cooking itself will be less of a chore, the oven won’t be as full, and you’ll actually enjoy what you’re eating.

 

Is there anything better than loading your plate full of mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, stuffing (or dressing), cranberry sauce (yes, I really do like it), Brussels sprouts, and the like? If you ask me, there is not (other than maybe a plate full of pie after dinner).

 

Regardless of your Thanksgiving plans in this wildly different year, you don’t have to cave to traditional peer pressure from your friends and family or anyone else (is there such a thing as Big Turkey?) and serve turkey or even something like chicken. Make your meal your own this year, no matter which dishes may or may not make the final cut.