Dave Barry


November 18, 1990|By DAVE BARRY

Thanksgiving is a time when we pause to Buuurrrp. Excuse me. Thanksgiving is a time when we pause to remember the courageous sacrifices of Burrrrrrpp. Whoo. Sorry. We pause to remember the courageous sacrifices of numerous turkeys, and their ancestral foreturkeys before them, without which the American nation would weigh about 15 pounds less per American.

You probably have your own turkey recipe, but you have not had turkey until you taste it the way I make it. People will take just one bite of my turkey and exclaim: "Aren't you supposed to remove this plastic bag containing turkey organs before you put it in the oven?" Not me, pal. Those organs are scary. I'm not putting my hand inside a dark turkey orifice with them until I'm sure they are dead. So I recommend cooking the tar out of the turkey, then firing a couple of machine-gun bursts into it just in case. We call this Turkey Miami Style.

Thawing is also important. For best results you should start thawing your turkey about three weeks ago, because your modern supermarket turkey is frozen to the hardness of state-capitol floors. In fact, thanks to genetic engineering, many modern turkeys are actually grown frozen. Yes. They start out as frozen embryos, and they are genetically engineered so they have no head or feathers; they also have cooking instructions right on their skin. You go to a modern turkey farm and all you see are these rock-hard breasts running around, bouncing off each other like bowling balls. They have a public-address system that does their gobbling for them.

So let your turkey thaw out thoroughly, is my advice, and then cook it. Or throw it into the garbage. We had to do this once with a turkey that had thawed out a little too much and smelled like a pair of post-game rugby shorts. An important cuisine tip, which has been handed down through generations of famous European chefs, is: Make sure your dog cannot get your turkey out of your garbage. We failed to follow this tip, and our large main dog, Earnest, found the turkey and ate the whole thing, then capped off her elegant dining experience by taking maybe 10 steps and throwing up the entire turkey in the living room.

"Whoa!" is the thought that at this point formed inside her brain, which is the same model found in broccoli. "Am I ever going to get in trouble for this!" So she started walking the way dogs do when they're guilty of something, wherein they hunch way down on the floor and creep along on their stomachs, snakelike, using just their toenails for traction. This caused our small emergency backup dog, Zippy, to become confused and think that maybe he had done something wrong, so when I walked into the living room, there was a semi-digested turkey carcass being slowly orbited by what appeared to be two hairy whimpering snakes.

Dogs would make totally incompetent criminals. If you could somehow get a group of dogs to understand the concept of the Kennedy assassination, they would all immediately confess to it. Whereas you'll never see a cat display any kind of guilty behavior, despite the fact that several cats were seen in Dallas on the grassy knoll area, not that I wish to start rumors.

Speaking of thawing and dogs and the warm glow that we all feel at Thanksgiving, it seems appropriate here to bring up the matter of the 1,000 frozen radioactive federal dogs in California. I am not making these dogs up. Several alert readers sent me an editorial about them that appeared in the Fresno Bee (Motto: "Fresno's Most Comically Named Newspaper").

It seems that in 1958 the federal government, which as you know is always looking for expensive new ways to appear ridiculous, began an experiment wherein 1,000 beagles were regularly injected with radiation to see what happens when you inject beagles regularly with radiation. The last beagle died in 1986, and all of their bodies, which are radioactive, are being kept in frozen storage near Davis, Calif., along with -- this is still true -- 34,000 gallons of radioactive beagle waste.

So far this project has cost $65 million, not including disposal, which is expected to cost a lot more, although nobody has figured out how to accomplish it yet. My suggestion would be to simply Federal Express everything to Iraq ("Large cold package for Mr. Hussein!"). But I'm sure the experts will think of something better. That's why we have experts: so the rest of us can just sit around, digesting our turkeys and being thankful. *

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