Turkey Time?

The economy may be oh-so-slowly getting itself back on a more even keel, but – one way or another – most of us will be feeling the pinch this Christmas even more than the last. It’s ingrained in our national conscious that we must splurge at this time of year; the show is all and to hell with the consequences until Jan 2. With the feasting starting at least two weeks before the Big Day and on for another week afterwards, it’s a trial for anyone’s stomach and wallet.

The most peculiar thing of all – if you stop to consider – is the concentration of wasted and mostly unappreciated effort for this one lone day. There must be relatives we don’t see from one year-end to the next; bowls full of nuts no-one eats because no-one can find the nutcracker; a liqueur cabinet groaning with sticky drinks that you don’t really need on top of all the rich food.

Then there’s the Meal. There must be turkey. It’s the law. Of course you get those curious rebels who swear they prefer goose or a rib of beef to go with the compulsory platters of roast potatoes, root vegetables and the sprouts that are left unloved and rapidly cooling, but the majority of us will once again go for the turkey. The problem is, this year, can we afford to?

Casting around online for major stockists and producers, you’d be hard-pushed to justify it. Should you prefer – and who would not – an all-dancing, all-singing, free-ranging cosseted bird, prices start around the £65 mark. Sixty-Five Pounds. For a turkey that feeds 4 people. A decent-sized one roars up to around £80. It’s enough to drive you straight to the nearest supermarket freezer and damn the ethics. The slightly cheaper turkey crown is sadly denuded of the only jewels it possesses – the succulent legs.

So what to do this Christmas? Do we blanch and shell out, because come hell or high water, there must be turkey or do we get a bit creative? Seek out something a touch unusual – haunch of venison, a magnificent crackling leg of pork, a dainty dish of partridge for two… What’s your feast going to be?

  • Weetabix

    Whats happened to skin of the turkey in this photo? (see top)…

    it really doesn’t look natural does it?

  • Waggy

    I must say that that picture of that roast turkey at the top looks about as dry as a bag of sand, this is the reason most people are put off by turkey. You can have whatever you want at Christmas, why not try game or fish, turkey has to be up there with the most boring of meats. If anyone wants any tips on moist juicy turkey there is a cooking tips section called ‘ask the chef’ on this very website. Merry Christmas to you all.

  • percy’

    My feast is going to the local Indian restaurant for Christmas dinner in Lytham. We went last year and it was wonderful.This year we’ve got a table for 10. Saves time,no cooking or washing up!! Bliss!!

  • Stevie

    Gotta love the “Hitler is a Veggie” argument, which is just not true at all.

    Whereas all modern war criminals including Saddam, Bin Laden & Tony Blair were all meat eaters.

  • Nick

    What a bizarre article. I’ve ordered a free range turkey for under £20 – they don’t ‘start around the £65 mark’; and that’ll feed 6 with enough left over for the stock pot and a few sarnies. The idea that it’s not possible to get an ethical, free range bird from a supermarket freezer is also nonsense. That’s precisely where mine is coming from!

  • Natalie_think

    Hmm, Turkey does have the tendency to become a bit dry. The Orchard restaurant on Blundell Street in Liverpool city centre, however, serves a delicious and rather succulent roasted English turkey served with lemon and parsley stuffing, chipolatas and cranberry sauce as part of it’s new Christmas menu. If you’re not usually a turkey fan then let The Orchard convince you. http://www.theorchardliverpool.com

  • Peter

    As Homer said ” If god wanted us to be vegetarian why did he make animals out of meat”

  • Robbie

    It’s all very well having compassion for animals…but we didn’t fight our way to the top of the food chain just to eat tofu and lentils! All I’m saying is when someone asks name a famous vegetarian they usually reply with Hitler…or worse…Chris Martin!

  • Scouser

    Archie, Robbie – calm down, calm down…..as we say in Liverpool. At least they offered you a chance to try a Vegan meal for Free. Not exactly ramming it down your throat is it.

    Robbie…most Vegetarians aren’t doing it to be interesting, they are vegetarian because they have compassion for animals. Is that so wrong?

  • Debs

    Why are some meat-eaters so aggressive to vegetarians? It’s not like they have the strength the fight back. Come on Archie give it a rest – Veggie was only expressing their view on alternatives to Turkey on Xmas day (which is the forum topic). If you can’t handle a little healthy debate you shouldn’t really be on the web.

  • Linda

    My husband is a veggie and we compromise by my only having meat that has had a happy life. Anyway I hate most vegetables so Christmas dinner will be whatever he wants and happy meat for me and his parents.

  • Robbie

    Well said Archie! There is nothing more annoying than some preaching veggie tree hugging nazi sympathizer trying to be different. I remember reading somewhere “You don’t get interesting by being a veggie. You only make your mum’s life miserable.” but anyway thats besides the point… it has to be Turkey everytime! it’s traditional and there is nothing better than a nice turkey butty for supper whilst watching some great crimbo telly!

  • Archie

    A good-sized capon is the answer in our house. Veggie, I respect your view, but this isn’t the forum to ram it down our throats along with your nut roast.

  • Veggie

    In reply to Alan Jones….I think you are missing the point.

    Why would you choose to indulge in a bland, tasteless, dry & overpriced bird. When you can make yourself a delicious Nut Roast or a succulent savoury cranberry roulade suitable for the whole family for a fraction of the price and can be made in a fraction of the time.

    This will take some of the stress out of your christmas dinner, no stuffing Turkeys at an un-godly time on Xmas day morning!!

    Three good reasons to be a vegetarian:

    1. It’s good for your health – 2. It’s good for the planet – 3. It’s good for the animals. Why wouldn’t you become one????

  • Ben

    Well I was going to buy a nice Leg of Lamb from Langley Chase (no i dont work for them LOL)… then decided taking into account the courier cost… Im buying a 1/2 a lamb!

    HaHa It’ll be great tho, organic, rare breed lamb. Ive never tried it so im excited.

  • Red

    yes Alan, it’s like Come Dine with Me. Every so often there’s a veggie spoiling the party. Why on earth do they go on the show the awkward buggers! No offence veggie, i do like veggie food too and will follow your link.

  • Alan Jones

    Oh Lord, spare us from the veggie at the Xmas dinner.

    It’s hectic enough trying to cater for a large group of people without stressing about what to prepare for the token veggie.

    Maybe God did invent sprouts for a reason…

  • Veggie

    Why do you need to eat meat at all this xmas…why not give a turkey the gift of life?

    Those of you in the North West should check out the Liverpool Vegan festival on Saturday 5th December. Enjoy a warm welcome and try a FREE Vegan roast dinner and gets lots of animal free food ideas for Xmas. http://www.scouseveg.co.uk/2009/11/02/liverpool-christmas-vegan-fair-2009/

    Also great ethical gifts and cruelty free goodies. Plus all proceeds are going to local animal rescue centres.

    Give it a try!

  • Reggie

    If turkey was all that it’s cracked up to be, we’d eat it more than once a year, wouldn’t we? So on that basis, what’s wrong with a cheaper supermarket bird??

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