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So now that it is over, can we admit a few truths about Thanksgiving? I hear a lot of people say that Thanksgiving is their favorite holiday. When you peel away all the layers of butter and get to the core intention of gratitude, I understand the appeal of the holiday. However in my practical experience, Thanksgiving celebrations rarely reflect that core intention.One of the most annoying aspects of Thanksgiving is the collective white-washing we find so comforting with regard to the historical facts surrounding early settlers’ contact with native people. Why are we still spewing this happy pilgrim / helpful native bullshit? Not to get all preachy, but how ’bout we use Thanksgiving to highlight other examples of neo-colonialist exploitation happening right now? Or better yet, take a trip to a Reservation and show the kiddies how great it worked out for those helpful “Indians.” Even though this isn’t a new criticism, there’s still no new narrative. Thanksgiving has become more a celebration of gluttony than gratitude. Now I’m going in on the food – which if you actually think about it is really disgusting. The traditional Thanksgiving spread is a depressing two note tune. SWEET or SAVORY. There is usually nothing raw, scant spice, and little in the way of contrast. Veggies drown in heavy sauces or casseroles. Fruits slug through sugary syrups. Almost everything else is brown or white. Every year experts hotly debate the best way to prepare a moist turkey. Brine?! Parchment?! Deep fry?! Newsflash. Any which way you prepare the turkey it will be dry and gross. That’s because turkey is innately dry and gross. No amount of submerging, poking, or braising the bird will change this eternal truth. I watch people saw away at dry turkey every year. No one ever compliments the turkey. They compliment everything but the turkey.
The art of conversation is apparently lost. People truly don’t know how to communicate with one another anymore. A series of rapid-fire questions isn’t a conversation; it’s an interrogation. Don’t force me talk about being a vegetarian when everyone at the table is eating meat. Don’t ask about work. This isn’t a job interview. I hate small talk. There is an art to finding interesting and inclusive topics of conversation. Engaging the group requires social tactical skill. Cultivate it. Myself included.
Just in time for the most tragic day of the year for our feathered friends, presenting the top pathogens likely to be chilling in your turkey this year.Campylobacter jejuni lives in the gut of poultry and is commonly found in turkey poop. When you catch this nasty bug, look forward to it incubating in your intestinal track before surprising you with a debilitating stomach flu and bloody diarrhea 2-5 days after exposure.Clostridium perfringens can grow without oxygen and can create spores that are resistant to cooking temperatures. The bacteria grows in poultry that has lingered too long before cooking or in meat that is improperly reheated. This bug causes gas gangrene. Uh huh, it is responsible for the bloating in decomposing corpses.Escherichia coli O157:H7 (E. coli) inhabits the intestinal tract of warm-blooded animals, but due to unsafe food handling practices, it pops up in turkey too. This particular strand causes enterhemorrhaging, which is a fancy way of saying internal intestinal bleeding or bloody butt.Listeria monocytogenes is found in water, soil and sewage. This nasty bug causes listeriosis, which can manifest in a mononucleosis-like infection or meningitis. 20-30% of clinical infections result in death, making it the most deadly of all the food borne pathogens. Added bonus: it can cause spontaneous abortion. By the way, there was a recall on Listeria-contaminated turkey just last week.Zoonotic, Salmonella can be passed from your pets to you and back again. Bitch doesn’t discriminate and will incubate where it can. Hearty Salmonella is not destroyed by freezing and lives easily outside its host for years. For the healthy, a nasty case of diarrhea ensues, but for the immune-compromised the consequences could be much more serious.
Shigellosis isn’t the latest dance craze; it is the delicious form of dysentery brought to you by Shigella. This crazy bacteria uses a biological syringe to inject healthy cells with a protein which triggers invasion. Turkey or sides are contaminated by hand mixing and by subsequent incomplete cooking.Highly contagious Staphylococcus aureus can grow in a variety of foods and can produce a heat-resistant poison that causes skin infections, digestive disasters, and sometimes death. Because the toxin is difficult to destroy, you must prevent it from forming. This one is both sneaky and common.
Have a super holiday.
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