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You want me to eat what on Thanksgiving?! – Part 1

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There are many Thanksgiving traditions that go without saying. What grown adult hasn’t, at some point in their life, sat around a table listing something for which they are grateful? Thanksgiving conjures images of roasted, golden turkeys, fluffy mashed potatoes and mom’s apple pie.

The late November gorge-fest brings to mind reminiscent smells of hours of cooking and the warm fuzzies associated with hanging with close friends and family.

Or it could be eating some really weird s**t.

Because wacky is more fun than traditional, I’ve compiled a list of must (or must not) adventures for an off the wall Thanksgiving to remember.

First up, the main event. You’ve all heard of the Turduckin — a chicken stuffed in a duck stuffed in a turkey (I think that’s the order). That’s over done. It’s been joked about in sitcoms and around dinner tables for years.

Let’s think bigger.

Turgooduccochiqua.

No, I didn’t just sneeze. Who would settle for three meets all tucked in together when you could have six? This big hunk of meat is a quail inside a Cornish game hen inside a duck inside a chicken inside a turkey inside a goose. Did I mention there’s bacon tucked in between? I don’t know if this sounds awesome or nauseating, but what I do know is it may take four large men and a tractor trailer to squeeze all those birds into a goose.

Bacon-wrapped bird

This one is perhaps a little old too, but it’s weird, awesome and gluttonous all at the same time.

Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you the roasted turkey wrapped in a bacon blanket, because, what could be better than cloaking your bird in pig butt?

This superstar of poultry (and swine) is just a common bird baked, not fried, however you think is best. This culinary diva suggests first dry-brining the bird two days before the big day, rubbing it in bacon butter the day before and then cooking the delicious right into that bacon wrapped beauty the day of. The only difference between this main dish and the one grandma made is the hand woven sheath of bacon draped over it.

Using about a pound of bacon, weave one piece of raw bacon at a time over the body of the turkey tucking each piece over and under just like Little Red Riding Hood’s little basket. The greasy bacon adds flavor to the turkey, keeps the meat moist and the drippings make for some killer gravy.

Bon a ‘petit! Or should I say, bacon a ‘petit!

Tofurky

Don’t eat meat? No problem! Tofurky is just the ticket. Nothing says “meat is gross, I don’t eat it” like shaping tofu into a shape that looks like meat!

This vegetarian or vegan alternative to Thanksgiving’s rock star turkey is basically just a bunch of tofu squished into a cheesecloth-lined colander to take on a turkey-esque shape and then stuffed. I’ve heard it’s actually quite delicious, but I’m still a little perplexed at making non-meat main courses for people who don’t eat meat look like the thing they don’t eat. I’d make it look like broccoli. That sounds fun.

There are probably a million ways to cook a turkey that fall outside the traditional oven roasted awesomeness or deep fried fire hazard. I saw something about stuffing the bird with a beer can and roasting it pig-style over a giant fire pit. But I think I’ll just leave this chef’s crazy bear-shaped Frankenstein turkey right here just in case you needed a good nightmare.

Whether you’re eating an actual turkey, a turkey stuffed into something else with other stuff stuffed in it or a fake meat turkey, you can give that bird a Florida suntan with some creatively placed aluminum foil. Just crinkle the foil over the turkey in the shape of whatever bikini style suits your bird’s figure and leave it there while baking. The turkey will emerge later that day sporting tan lines. Oh, and don’t forget to position the legs above the head so it looks like your main dish is sun bathing!

Moving on to everyone’s favorite part of Thanksgiving, the side dishes!

Whipped Mashed Potatoes with Celery Root

This sounds totally yummy, but it’s weird. Mashed potatoes win the “you can’t F— this one up” award year after year. Boil some potatoes. Smother them in some sort of milk or cream and a bunch of butter. Squish them up all nice and viola, turkey’s favorite companion and holder of gravy! With this new recipe, uncle Fred could possibly mess up his one contribution to the holiday dinner.

These mashed potatoes look more like cool whip than mashed potatoes. They’re void of any lumps and could probably be spread deliciously onto a bagel.

A pound of celery root and a few sprigs of thyme along with a hint of cheese give this Thanksgiving rendition an earthy hint. It may be weird, but it may impress your new girlfriend’s mom.

Frog Eye Salad

I’m not sure if this one is a side dish or a dessert. It could safely fall in either category containing both pasta and cool whip. Judging by its ‘salad’ categorization though, I’m going to go with side dish.

First off, no frogs were harmed in the making of this dish.

This recipe calls for Acini di Pepe pasta, which gives it the look of frog eyes. It also looks like round pieces of pasta, but since whoever invented it clearly thought frog eye sounded appetizing, it now just looks like Kermit and his brethren sacrificed their eyeballs to garnish your Thanksgiving feast.

Anywho, the eyeball-shaped pasta is mixed with a sugary combination of cool whip and a bunch of fruit. It looks kind of like pasta salad, but minus the usual makings of salad like, you know, onions, celery and boiled eggs.

Throw any of these dishes onto your Thanksgiving Day spread and Grandma Esther and Aunt Edith are sure to be talking about the “weird” Thanksgiving for years to come! Keep your eyes peeled for installment two of our wacky Turkey Day recipes for desserts, hors d’oeuvres and even a funky cocktail.

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Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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