There comes a point after every Thanksgiving meal when a decision has to be made about the turkey carcass.
This presumes, of course, that you had turkey for Thanksgiving, rather than enchiladas, goat with couscous, tofu, PB&J, or even military field rations.
None of the latter is traditional a Thanksgiving meal, but allowances must be made for cultural differences. As long as there is pumpkin pie for dessert, whatever you eat remains a legitimate holiday meal.
If you hate pumpkin pie, you aren’t a real American. Please go back to wherever you came even if it’s Bakersfield or Chicago.
What to do with turkey carcasses may be one of the most important holiday deliberations. Should you be responsible and save it for leftovers? Should you simply throw it into the garbage? Or should you bury it in the backyard for later forensic study?
My mother was a Great Depression child. Food was not to be wasted. It was common for our family to have a Thanksgiving turkey skeleton in the refrigerator well into February.
After it was picked clean by the Old Man, Mom would stick what looked like a poorly crafted wicker basket into a pot and boil it for two days.
Once every bit of sinew, cartilage and fat had been rendered into at least a dozen more family meals, the skeleton was tossed into the garbage — where it soon was pilfered by a wandering mutt with an emergency trip to the vet in its immediate future.
A relatively clean turkey carcass still can be serviceable. You just have to use your imagination and perhaps a whole bunch of teenage immaturity. Alcohol can help.
I once used a turkey carcass to build a birdhouse. True story. When a sparrow moved in, I loved the irony of a live bird living inside a dead bird in order to make new birds.
But then a cat got it.
Depending on its size and durability, the skeletonized bird also can be reasonably fashioned into a hockey mask, a catcher’s face guard or even a Hannibal Lecter bite guard. You’ll need some Gorilla Glue and wire, but it can be done.
Absent legs, wings, neck and butt part, a thoroughly cleaned turkey rib cage makes a nice fruit basket to take to someone recovering in a hospital, or a disliked boss who may then stress about a hidden meaning.
I have heard — but not tried myself — that a turkey rib cage can be worked into the net part of a lacrosse stick. Word is that Native Americans actually did this hundreds of years ago, until they realized bone splinters put out too many eyes.
The point is: I’m trying to encourage you to be responsible with your dead and partially eaten turkey. Properly prepared, it makes a nice place to hang keys or store sewing supplies. It can be used as a rat trap or be worn as unstylish protection for man hair buns.
In any case, I hope your Thanksgiving is everything you hoped it would be. Remember to eat responsibly, interact politely, and try not to provoke (insert annoying family member’s name here).
Most of all, if it comes to blows, be the first to grab the carcass as head protection.