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Can Duck Be The Main Dish for Thanksgiving?

The broad appeal about thanksgiving is that people embrace it regardless of their ethnicity or religion. The principles and rituals embraced during this holiday are considered universal as it all comes down to family, food, and gratitude. Despite its adaptability, turkey remains the core part of the meal that is embraced by almost everyone. Although turkey has been preferred for this occasion over centuries, it does not prevent other people from eating duck as the main dish for thanksgiving.  This article discusses whether eating duck defies the traditional thanksgiving bird and why people may prefer it to turkey.

A Brief History of the Main Bird for Thanksgiving

There are several reasons why turkey became the bird of choice for thanksgiving.

Roasted Turkey on Harvest Table
After Thanksgiving was declared a national holiday by Lincoln in 1863, turkey gained traction as the meal of choice for Americans because it was a scrumptious bird and uniquely American. A pragmatic reason for eating turkey was that it was large enough to feed a table full of family members and friends as opposed to chickens. Another reason was that these birds were mostly available for slaughter on a family farm. Hens and live cows were considered useful as long as they produced eggs and milk. On the other side, the turkey was only bred for their meat and therefore could be readily killed for the celebrations.

The Pilgrims may not have considered turkey to be worthy of special commemoration because communities held unofficial thanksgiving celebrations throughout America’s colonial era. Therefore, the practice of eating turkey has been passed as a cultural practice over the years to the recent day where it is the meal of choice for thanksgiving in America and Canada.

Is it Wrong to Eat Duck as the Main Dish for Thanksgiving?

For American enthusiasts who stick to traditions, eating duck instead of turkey as the main dish for Thanksgiving does not live up to the spirits of this national holiday. However, this does not mean that eating a duck is wrong either. Even though most Americans prefer turkey as the centerpiece of their Thanksgiving table, ducks and other types of meat are used as main dishes for this holiday and other special occasions. Not everybody eats turkey for thanksgiving and a few who do probably eat it for the sake of traditions. A duck may be smaller than a turkey but it makes up for it in flavor.

Reasons for Eating Duck Rather Than Turkey

Some of the reasons why people may choose to eat duck are because it is easy to cook, has a great flavor, and is widely available. Hosting a large affair will need more than one duck to serve at dinner because they are smaller than turkeys. However, they cook faster and are less prone to overcooking because of their high content of dark meat.  The leg of a duck measures about eight ounces and having two of them on a plate is still a manageable size. This makes it a good option for homes where white meat such as turkey is not a commodity.

Since duck is a waterfowl, it has an adequate amount of skin fat that aids with buoyancy. The skin fat bastes the bird naturally making it very moist. When you combine moisture with a little bit of fat, you get a succulent taste that shines on its own. On the contrary, eating a plain piece of turkey breast will be a kind of bland meat. Duck stands out over turkey because you can eat it alone or garnish it if you want. It is more versatile than turkey as it can be used in everything from soups, finger foods, salads, and casseroles. They are leaner, tasty, and highly nutritious than turkey as they have more iron, zinc, and selenium.

Thanksgiving is a special occasion that requires everything to be done near perfection or else you risk having both hungry and unhappy guests. Messing up the turkey during thanksgiving is one of the things that can ruin your celebrations, especially if you have never cooked it before. Many people would rather stick to what they know how to cook or seek other alternatives such as duck because of taste preferences. The fact that turkey has always been the traditional bird for thanksgiving does not hold other people back from eating ducks and other popular alternatives as the main dish. It is all about cultural beliefs, choice preferences, and that thing that will make your day special and memorable.

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