Monday, November 24, 2008

The Carving Conundrum

Dueling Over Thanksgiving Dinner
© 2008 Leighann Lord

The local news had a cooking segment on how to carve a Thanksgiving turkey and I thought to myself, "This isn’t news! What idiot doesn’t know how to carve a turkey?" Oh wait... me. If it were up to moi, I’d pass the turkey around the table like a joint and let everybody take a bite. But by the time I thought to pay attention, the segment was finished and so was my smug attitude.

I’m actually very lucky, or in deference to the season, thankful. I married both a cooker and carver in one. Sweet! Most first dates ask inane questions like what’s your favorite color, movie, or position (football wise, of course). With an eye toward the long term viability of the relationship, "Can you carve a turkey?" seemed much more relevant.

I guess every family has a designated carver; that one person who’s job it is butcher the bird, but maybe they don’t. Bereft of a resident carver, a lot of pressure and hope is brought to bear on each new generation. With every baby born, family members gather around the infant and ask the ancient question: "Are you the one?" But whether meat carving be nature or nurture, these families suffer either way. The skill set is not in their gene pool and they can’t teach what they do not know. Sans divine intervention or genetic mutation a vegan lifestyle complete with tofu turkey may be in the offing.

Some families are blessed with an abundance of turkey technicians. On the surface this is great, but it begs the question, who gets to carve the turkey? Naturally, seniority wins until the day grandpa grabs the knife and, forgetting what he’s cutting, makes short work of the ottoman; scarring the kids and house pets in the process. Location is the next logical criteria. Everybody knows the house always carves.

But all things being equal by age and neutral locale, a clash of egos can lead to fisticuffs. This is, in fact, how the practice of dueling began; two potential turkey carvers brandishing increasingly larger knives like a scene from "Crocodile Dundee" trying to assert their carver claim. Though bloodshed is an ironically fitting way to commemorate Thanksgiving, it could deprive a family of both its carvers (through death and subsequent incarceration); the specter of tofu turkey looming.

In order to preserve the harmony of the holiday, I propose a Five Point Thanksgiving Bail Out Plan:

1. The Exchange Program: Families with, share with families without.

2. The Apprentice Program: Find the person in your family least likely to stab themselves and apprentice them to a carver in another family.

3. Outsourcing: Start dating the deli guy.

4. Goal Oriented Socializing: Integrate practical skills assessment into your dating/mating paradigm. In other words, before you mate, ask your date if they know how to carve a turkey.

5. Abject Surrender: Give up, go vegan and learn to like tofu.

Happy Thanksgiving!
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