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Thursday, February 27, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Family

Mama Bear Moxie: Ditching the turkey this year

By Kristina Phelan For The Spokesman-Review

Thanksgiving sits in the shadows of the ever-looming Christmas season. Now that some stores are open on Thanksgiving, it seems the holiday is changing with modern culture.

I have always enjoyed Thanksgiving because of the way it works out for my family. My husband gets the Friday after Thanksgiving off from work, and I relish the long weekend that we get to spend together. It is a nice break from the hustle and bustle of fall and school activities, homework and new schedules.

We live far away from family, so many of our Thanksgivings have been spent at home with no one to share it with. This use to bother me, but I have come to love our family time.

However, I am always left with a dilemma as far as what to serve. I have thrown around the idea of not doing a turkey, but my kids, whom I instilled with too much for love tradition, always bully me into it.

But, I’m putting my foot down this year. Here’s my list of reasons why I’m going turkey-less:

Sharing the oven

I’ve never had a double oven, so roasting a turkey for hours the morning of Thanksgiving has never gone well. I love baking items, so I always have to cut out certain dishes. This forced me to put more emphasis on the turkey, of which I have never been a fan, instead of making other dishes that I enjoy more. I could probably fit in something with the turkey, but I always worry about the turkey not being done and accidentally giving my family food poisoning.

Lack of turkey skills

My husband is always a big help in the kitchen. However, we have never quite been able to cook the turkey properly. There was the one “squeaky turkey” year where my husband tried frying our turkey to no avail. There were years where only part of the turkey was done and those when it wasn’t done at all. We have done a lot of research, even asking our mothers, but it just never turns out well.

My kids don’t eat it

My kids say turkey is traditional, but they also don’t eat turkey when it comes down to it. They may eat a slice or two, but they really load up on the carbs that cover the table. Then I’m left with a turkey that I spent hours making, giving up oven space, in order to have leftover turkey for other meals. If we’re not going to it, why make it?

We eat well year round

I make our meals from scratch probably 90 percent of the time. I also love baking and make apple pies in the fall along with fruit tarts in the spring. When it comes to Thanksgiving, I am left with the feeling I already produce this type of meal quality on a regular basis. While our Thanksgiving meal includes items that we don’t normally make like corn pudding and pistachio fruit dip, I live in the Midwest with three kids: meat, mashed potatoes and rolls are a staple on our dinner table.

My list of reasons may seem ridiculous, but I feel good about foregoing the turkey this year. So, for those of you enjoying turkey this Thanksgiving, or going rogue with me with some other main dish, I hope that you have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Kristina Phelan is a former Spokane-area resident now living in Illinois. Visit her website at

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