November 22, 2007, - 2:34 pm

THANKSGIVING!

By Debbie Schlussel
I’ve written this or a similar message for a few years, but I can’t improve upon it:
To my readers and friends, who wished me a Happy Thanksgiving, I regret I cannot respond to each of you personally, but Right Back At Ya! A joyous, delicious, fun Thanksgiving to you!
On this Thanksgiving, I am thankful for you who regularly read my words. I will remember all of those who gave their lives so we can enjoy our turkey in freedom and without wearing a niqab; so that we can enjoy our lives as we wish and live freely. While left-wing self-hating Americans want us to recall their phony version of history–ie., that we are the oppressors, don’t forget that the real oppression is going on elsewhere . . . all over the world today. A large part of it is under Islamic totalitarian rule, some of it under Communists and “former” Communists.
And, finally, on Thanksgiving, I will also be thankful for the turkey and other animal products that I will happily consume. Remember: Thanksgiving . . . it’s not for vegetarians (or tofurkeys).

normanrockwellthanskgiving.jpg

Enjoy that Turducken. And HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
***
Over the years, many people have asked me how, as a Jew, my Thanksgiving might differ from yours. Well, first, it doesn’t differ at all. We are all Americans, and I am as thankful as anyone to be able to live and practice my religion freely in our great country. I eat turkey and most of the same “fixin’s” as you do, with the exceptions noted below.
But there are differences in the meal:
1) My turkey is kosher. That means it’s slightly more expensive (most kosher meat and poultry usually is because you are paying for the kosher slaughter, a rabbi’s supervision of it, etc.). That means the turkey was slaughtered in captivity, pursuant to kosher slaughter rules (of which the Muslim Halal is a complete rip-off). The live animal is inspected to make sure there are no defects, missing parts, blemishes, etc. If none, then it is slaughtered with almost a guillotine like beheading. The idea is that, even though we are not animal rights/PETA freaks, we want the bird to feel as little pain as possible and die instantly. Also, we don’t need to brine the turkey, because kosher poultry is always slightly salty, anyway. Kosher meat/poultry is salted to get rid of the blood.
2) If you keep kosher, as I do, then we don’t have any dairy ingredients with our meal or up to six hours afterward. So, no buttering the turkey, a non-dairy pumpkin pie at dessert, etc. That’s, again, because of the kosher/Jewish idea of humane treatment of animals. We eat the animal, but we don’t want it to suffer. And in the Bible, it says, “Thou shalt not cook a goat in its mother’s milk.” In those days with small, self-sufficient family farms, if you cooked a goat in milk, it probably was its mother’s milk. We believe that it’s enough that we killed the animal and are eating it, but to cook it in its own mother’s milk would be to embarrass it/make it suffer more. So we never eat meat/poultry ingredients with dairy ones and wait up to six hours in between for the two not to mix in the digestion process.
3) I noticed that most gentiles I know start their thanksgiving in the very early afternoon. Most of my many non-Jewish friends are done with their Thanksgiving dinner much before we’ve even started ours. Most Jewish people I know don’t start our Thanksgiving dinner until the early evening/regular dinner time. That’s anecdotal, of course. I don’t know every one of my 5.2 million American fellow co-religionists. But this is my observation. As I write this, it’s mid-afternoon, and no Thanksgiving dinner eating has begun for me. Not for a while.
Other than that, my Thanksgiving is pretty much the same as yours. Enjoy. And give thanks.

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16 Responses

What an interesting write up.
Debbie, Enjoy Thanksgiving. Thank you for keeping your head held up high and going forward in not so easy times.
You are appreciated.

Highrise on November 22, 2007 at 3:55 pm

Debbie, my family also would start the meal late in the afternoon, but I thought everyone did. Thanks for clearing that up. I also used to wait one hour after meat to eat milk.

Anonymous1 on November 22, 2007 at 7:11 pm

Debbie, my family follows the ancient tradition of eating our Thanksgiving meal at half-time. Maybe I’m not so thankful for the Lions this year, but you are one of only a couple blogs that I follow closely and I appreciate your dedication.

Paul on November 22, 2007 at 8:43 pm

I would add a few things:
1. I do not think it would be kosher to cook another bird inside the turkey, as some families have a practice of cooking a duck inside the turkey (and sometimes a cornish hen inside the duck!). I am not sure about cooking the stuffing inside the bird, we do not.
2. My wife did an excellent job cooking our monster kosher turkey this year, and also her own tofurkey as she is vegetarian. So there!
[ML: I HAVE NEVER PERSONALLY EATEN A TURDUCKEN, THOUGH I'M NOT SURE HOW IT COULD BE UNKOSHER (SO LONG AS THE TURKEY, DUCK, AND CHICKEN ARE ALL KOSHER). I JUST LIKE TALKING ABOUT TURDUCKEN ON THANKSGIVING BECAUSE IT MAKES THE ANIMAL RIGHTS CROWD AND PETA TRIPLY UPSET, WHICH I LOVE. DS]

melchloboo on November 23, 2007 at 11:24 am

I am interested in why you can’t have dairy products with turkey. As far as I know, turkeys don’t feed their young with milk. Why couldn’t you have dishes including cow or goat milk with turkey? Does G-d’s law prohibit milk being consumed with the flesh of all animals?
From reading your post, it appears that industrial farming of animals is prohibited by G-d’s Law. As a Reform Christian, I totally agree with this position.
[SB: SINCE POULTRY IS SIMILAR TO MEAT, THE RABBIS MADE A PRONOUNCEMENT THAT THIS LAW APPLIES TO POULTRY AS WELL AS MEAT, SO THAT JEWS WOULD NOT MAKE A MISTAKE (MIXING THEM UP AND ACCIDENTALLY EATING MEAT WITH DAIRY). DS]

Sue Bob on November 23, 2007 at 10:28 pm

Regarding the turducken, I will share my thoughts not so much to start an argument, but to further educate your readers on where and how the rules get started.
In Deutoronomy 22:
9. You shall not sow your field with a mixture, lest the growth of the seed that you plant and the produce of the vineyard become forbidden
10. You shall not plow with an ox and a donkey together
11. You shall not wear combined fibers, wool and linen together
And 10 has been generally interpreted that unlike animal species should not “work” together (Rashi I think). So to the extent the carcasses are “working” together in the oven to produce the meal, maybe that’s not kosher preparation. Seems to me against the spirit of those lines, and kinda sorta degrades the animals cooked (hidden) inside the others.
I am no rabbi and not a very good scholar, so don’t take it from me, I’m just bringing up the argument. I see from googling that many people make this turducken the way you described with kosher birds and consider it kosher.
Anyway I am still enjoying our lefovers!
[ML: I'M AWARE OF THOSE BIBLICAL PRONOUNCEMENTS. HOWEVER, MY UNDERSTANDING IS THAT THEY ARE INTERPRETED AS A JEWISH PROHIBITION AGAINST CROSS-BREEDING, ETC. AS FOR THE FIBERS, WHILE YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO WEAR WOOL AND LINEN COMBOS, OTHER FIBER COMBOS ARE NOT PROHIBITED. REGARDLESS, I DON'T BELIEVE THE PROHIBITION ON THE FIBER COMBO A/K/A "SHATNES" APPLIES TO COOKING THREE TYPES OF BIRDS TOGETHER. COULD BE WRONG, THOUGH. INTERESTING COMMENTARY BY YOU. DS]

melchloboo on November 24, 2007 at 12:24 pm

Some Halachic (Jewish legal) clarifications:
Sue Bob, the prohibition for Jews to eat poultry and milk together is Rabbinical. The reason is simply that poultry, which is not animal meat but fowl meat, is not meat according to Torah Law. However, the Sages assigned to it the majority of stringencies as if it was meat because it is viewed by the average Joe (or Abraham or Moses) as a type of meat. The Sages did not want people to make a lenient misassuption based on habit that if poultry can be mixed with milk, so can meat. Hence the prohibition in order to distance people from violating the Torah’s law.
To Mechloboo, nope. A turducken made of kosher birds is not a Halachic problem. Nice try, though.

Shy Guy on November 24, 2007 at 12:49 pm

As a Catholic, I have always been proud of the long traditions of my faith. Having the honor of attending a few Bar Mitzvahs, however, made me feel like the new kid on the block. Not only the unbroken traditions carried on still by those first called by God, but the reverance and respect for the God we both worship deepened my feelings of having a special relationship with Jews. I only wish that we could convince American Jews that whatever they see in the “stated” politics of the Democrat party, that party is no friend to either their faith nor to Israel. Shalom.

NeoConOne on November 25, 2007 at 6:54 am

I ralize this is not a “cooking” blog nor thread. But, since “Turducken” has been mentioned a few times, perhaps one of you can answer a question for me: How in blazes do you carve a “Turducken?”
I presume all three fowls are utilized with bones in, not deboned prior to combining. Furhter, I wonder if the skins are left on each bird? If so, does that not create a health hazard….e.g., the skin of the Turkey will reach cleansing temperatures, but the inner bird will not. If you’ve spent much time around a farm, you know that the feathers and skin are subject to some rather nasty contact materials. So, how is the skin of the inner birds sanitized?
I’ve never tried it, but might consider it if all birds were deboned, the inner 2 skinned, and the inner most cavity filled with a fruit, such as apple or pear.

Zoyadog on November 25, 2007 at 9:25 am

Another dumb question, possibly. I am not Jewish, so ignorance can be bliss in matters like these. Is not another reason that meat and dairy are not mixed because milk, being a whole food, is a superb culture growing substance…in other words, any contamination of meat, due to poor refridgeration or lack of it, poor curing, etc., would have an easy means to grow and impact your intestines?
When I lived in Asia, and ate local foods, I avoided meat and milk together ( for at last 6 hours) for this very reason, thanks to some unpleasant experience with combining them. And that wasn’t even real whole milk, but “filled” milk. Was that mere superstition or a hold over from my days in Bio-Chemistry?

Zoyadog on November 25, 2007 at 9:39 am

Zoyadog, the Torah does not give reasons for the prohibition of eating meat and milk together. Incidentally, to disprove your reasoning, the Torah no less prohibits the cooking of meat and milk together, even if it won’t be eaten, as well as prohibiting benefiting from the cooking of meat and milk together (e.g., selling it or feeding it to animals).
Here’s a general article on the subject of Kosher laws: “Why Kosher?”
http://www.aish.com/literacy/mitzvahs/Why_Kosher$.asp

Shy Guy on November 25, 2007 at 10:36 am

To add my 2 cents… I recently heard a secondary reason why there is a Rabbinic prohibition to include poultry in the “meat” category, for kashrut (kosher) purposes. Throughout Jewish history, many Jews were not wealthy enough to have red meat each Sabbath or on festival holidays. But, to enable the Jewish masses to follow the commandment of not mixing milk and meat, there was a rabbinical decree giving poultry the same status as red meat. I thought this was incredibly sensitive and beautiful.

HatLady on November 25, 2007 at 1:05 pm

Shy Guy….
Thank you for the reference site. You clarifed the meat/dairy Kosher issue. I do note, however, that on the site you referenced, the proper bleeding out is done for the purposes of preventing another culture base….e.g., residue blood. My chemical theory isn’t all wet,then….just not related to Kosher.
Next, I’ve been told, now, by others, that “Turducken” indeed requires the deboning of the birds (except for wings and leg portions), but not the skinning. Duck and chicken skin intact and inside the cavity of the Turkey means I am not inclined to ever try it. If that skin cannot reach a “browning” temperature I can’t believe it is wholy clean. Probably just me and my superstitions.
That said, I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving, however celebrated. Mine included shredded BBQ beef and sauce over slices of parmesan toast, chased with unsweetened Iced Tea.
Nothing too conventional here, except for deep thanks for the opportunity of being born in the USA.

Zoyadog on November 25, 2007 at 5:30 pm

HatLady, what you heard sounds like it came out of the school of Karl Marx. I contend it is without any historical foundation. It also has no Jewish foundation, as one upholds a negative Torah commandment (such as not eating milk and meat together) simply by not violating it.

Shy Guy on November 25, 2007 at 6:25 pm

I hope that you have had a Thanksgivng surrounded by those you love and who love you.
I was at my in-laws.
chsw

chsw on November 25, 2007 at 7:33 pm

Debbie, I’m a liberal non-religious cynic who distrusts authority by tradition, so not your typical reader. But I’m thankful that I can read what you have to say and you can read my reply. I’m thankful that families like mine and like yours have the ability to feast and celebrate in peace and general happiness.
Thanks for helping folks like me understand the world a little better (your post here led me to look up information on Kashrut) even though I will surely disagree with you now and then.
AP,
Texas

Anthony on November 25, 2007 at 11:50 pm

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