Sunday, November 17, 2013

Scary turkey alternatives

Thanksgiving is coming in just over a week, so food writers are all gearing up for the big feast. Turkey is the star of the show for most people, but it's not foremost among my own ideas of Thanksgiving. When I was a child, we usually went to Grandma's and she didn't like turkey, so she usually made several chickens and a ham. When I grew up and became mostly vegetarian, I learned to make a tofu-based roll full of homemade stuffing and that became the centerpiece. This week I'm examining what vintage cooks could  make in place of a turkey.

Today I'm looking to Good Housekeeping's Cooking for Company (1971) for some ideas of meat-based non-turkey "company" food. I'm not as hospitable as my grandma, though, so these recipes assume that the cook doesn't want to be in charge of Thanksgiving again!

And what could make your guests say "How about we go somewhere else next year?" faster than "Company Tuna-Rice Cones"?

Yes, a ring of gigantic popped zits spewing pus around a bed of overcooked broccoli should work quite nicely at suggesting you'd rather not be subjected to Uncle Joe's political opinions for five hours only to be rewarded with a messed-up house and a pile of dirty dishes afterwards.

These look like real treats, too: tuna and rice glued together, rolled in corn flakes, and deep fried, served over broiled canned pineapple and topped with condensed cream of mushroom soup. I think the fact that these are actually called "Company Tuna-Rice Cones" suggests the editors had the same attitude toward company as I do.

Okay, maybe you don't want to be quite as overtly hostile. Maybe you'd rather have something that seems a bit more Thanksgiving-ish. Maybe if you're really lucky, some of your guests have coulrophobia and you can conveniently "forget" this when you decide to make the innocuous-sounding "Chicken, Danish Style."

Turn a roasted chicken into a horror by painting it white and using pickle and carrot chips to give it a clown outfit. If you're really lucky, the kids will refuse to be in the same house with the thing and will insist on staying in the car!

All it takes is chicken, some veggies, horseradish-mustard sauce, a few toothpicks, and the will to overcome any lingering traces of hospitality or human decency.


  1. These recipes are hysterical, Poppy. Now I know where to turn when I no longer want to host Thanksgiving Dinner, lol...

    I was actually looking at the chicken gravy in the above recipe. Those were the days when there actually were chickens that could go from making a soup to "dressing" a platter, gravy and all!!!

    Thanks so much for sharing, Poppy...I'll be chuckling at the turkeys when I go to get my dinner ingredients for sure:)

    1. I hope you have a good Thanksgiving and I'm glad there's someone out there who likes to host. :-)