With many of our midterms coming to an end, all of us are looking forward to seeing our families and gathering around the kitchen table to celebrate one of the nation’s most anticipated holidays: Thanksgiving. It’s the one time a year where we don’t need an excuse to stuff our faces and where we’re encouraged to get seconds, thirds or even fourths (and for me, this isn’t even including dessert). While everyone has their own spin on the holiday feast, a typical Thanksgiving meal in the US may consist of mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, pumpkin pie and of course the center piece: turkey.
Although Thanksgiving is an American holiday, turkey is still eaten in many different forms around the world—whether it’s served as a simple home-cooked meal or an extravagant dish in celebration of a local holiday:
The British also like to whip out this delectable bird around Christmas time. It’s prepared in a similar fashion (baked or roasted in an oven) and typically accompanied with winter vegetables, such as roasted potatoes, Brussels sprouts and parsnips. Cranberry sauce is also provided as an optional condiment.
After WWII, cheap imported turkey tail from the US became popular in Samoa due to its affordability and accessibility. However, the turkey tail’s high fat content coupled with the government’s aim to combat Samoa’s increasing obesity rates led to its ban in 2007 ( eventually lifted in 2013, when Samoa rejoined the WTO). Turkey tails are usually seasoned with salt and pepper and broiled until crisp.
Turkey with mole sauce is regarded as Mexico’s “national dish.” A mole poblano sauce (dark red/brown) is made beginning with one or more types of chili peppers—usually ancho, pasilla, mulato or chipotle. Chocolate is then added at the end of cooking, giving the sauce its rich color and balancing the heat of the peppers. It’s then served over turkey and presented as a popular dish at weddings, birthdays and baptisms.
Pavo a la brasa, otherwise known as grilled Peruvian turkey, is a play on pollo a la brasa, one of the most consumed dishes in Peru that originated in the city of Lima in the 1950s. The meat is typically marinated in salt, cooked over charcoal and served with large French fries. It’s traditionally eaten by hand, without cutlery.
Turkey Kizizot is an Israeli spin on an American burger patty. The pan-fried patty is made with ground dark turkey meat, onion, carrot, garlic and parsley and enjoyed with farfel, a flake-shaped pasta made from egg noddle dough, and Israeli salad.
Even Turkey’s gotta have its own turkey. There, stuffed turkey is usually eaten during Christmas. The filling is reminiscent of those used in dolma (stuffed grape or cabbage leaves): rice, minced meat or grains, onions, dill, mint, parsley and several spices. It’s typically then baked or roasted in the oven.
Embutido is a Filipino style meatloaf served during the holidays. Although it’s usually made from ground pork, turkey is often substituted as a healthier alternative. Vienna sausages, a mix of finely chopped carrots and onions and peppers, cheese and hard-boiled eggs are combined with the ground meat and baked. The dish can be eaten cold as an appetizer, or warm as a main dish with rice.
Regardless of the occasion, turkey can be prepared in many different forms. Perhaps you’ve gained some new inspiration and may even want to try some of these international dishes. So, how do you like your turkey?