While more than 50 million American families are expected to carve into a roast turkey for dinner tomorrow, the popular bird is far from the only Thanksgiving show in Carroll.
Sure, some may scoff that a 15-pound Hubbard squash stuffed with dry fruit is about as un-American on Thanksgiving as a plate of sushi is on the Fourth of July. But many -- possibly some of your friends and neighbors -- indulge in a turkey-less Thanksgiving meal.
"For the most part, people stick to the traditional holiday meals, the kind mom used to make," said George Keeney, a chef at the Baltimore International Culinary College. "But to a small degree, some do go out of their way and prepare different things."
While the 15-year chef takes a break from the kitchen tomorrow -- his mom will whip up a traditional turkey dinner, replete with all the trimmings -- some countians do indeed do their own Thanksgiving thing.
Some go for lamb basted in a bourbon-walnut sauce and side of cranberry-orange chutney. Others do a dinner of roast duck drizzled in Bing cherry sauce. And still others take a traditional turkey, top it with a pineapple and macadamia nut glaze and stuff it with an apple-chestnut stuffing.
"The Thanksgiving meal rarely differs," said Judy Stuart, an extension agent and home economist with the University of Maryland Cooperative Extension Service in Carroll County. "I think you'll find your ethnic foods, maybe lasagna alongside turkey or something like that. You'll also find some families eating deer, squirrel or even rabbit."
Obviously for some segments of the population, a Thanksgiving without the turkey is de rigeur.
Take vegetarians, for example.
Cynthia Blum -- who grew up on a farm -- is what is known as a vegan, or someone who shuns all animal and animal-derived products in any form.
Planning on having a holiday dinner at her Snydersburg Road home? Be prepared to munch on some alternative Thanksgiving eats.
Eats like the stuffed squash. Like a gravy made with natural yeast, flour and tamari sauce. Or a dessert of fresh fruit and fresh-whipped soy topping to add a bit a sweetness.
"I've been doing this for 13 years, and, to tell you the truth, I really don't remember what turkey tastes like," she said.
On Christmas, she expects to prepare a gluten roast.
Gluten, Blum explains, is the protein left over after combining wheat flour and water into a ball and submerging it in more water for several hours. The gluten, high in protein and low in fat, is then stretched out, stuffed with a traditional stuffing, and then roasted.
"It's really quite good," she said.