Can You Eat Pink Turkey Meat?
How the U.S. Government Makes Thanksgiving Dinner
Dateline: 11/25/97 - Thanksgiving Eve
Youre probably asking, "Just what the heck does pink turkey meat have to do with government?" Well, right now is a pretty good time to know the answer. Where better to get it than the USDAs Food Safety Inspection Service? "Is pink turkey meat safe?" happens to be just about the most popular question asked on their Meat and Poultry Hotline: 1(800)535-4555 - recorded messages 24 hours-a-day.
"We had a big family argument at Thanksgiving dinner. Aunt Mildred wouldnt eat the turkey because it looked pink." -- USDAs FSIS Web site.
Prepare in advance! Trot on over to the FSIS Web site and peck up a copy of, "Is Pink Turkey Meat Safe?" Then, just lay it on top of Aunt Mildreds plate while shes still busy putting in her teeth. Finally, while the whole herd is busy eating, serve them this tidbit from the FSIS site; "Turkeys do a lot of standing around, but little if any flying, so their wing and breast muscles are white; their legs dark." The looks youll get are priceless!
And, if you want to baste that bird right to begin with, and not end up with a parlor full of gagging guests four hours later, gobble up a copy of FSIS' "Food Safety of Turkey -- From Farm to Table." Where youll also learn that in 1996, every good American ate an average of 18.4 pounds of turkey. (Carcass weight, of course.)
But, Were Having Ham!
Me too! Ever since my early years of trying to choke down Grandmas famous "Sun-Dried, Desiccated, Desert Grown Turkey." But, dont worry ham-lovers, the USDA has you covered, too. For everything from a definition of ham, (...pork which comes from the hind leg of a hog.) to safe handling and how to cook, cure, smoke, or brine it, dont miss "FOCUS ON: Ham" from the FSIS. Did you know, for example that the most common ways of adding curing solution to hams are injection into muscle by needle, and tumbling or massaging to produce a more tender ham? "Hog leg, please. Tumbled, not poked."
But, Were Having Cornish Hens!
Oh, why not have a capon (a male surgically unsexed chicken from 4 - 7 pounds) instead? Look, I dont care if you eat beef, lamb, wild game, pork, veal, duck, quail, pheasant, or goose, the Food Safety Inspection Services "Roasting Those 'Other' Holiday Meats" carves up all the information youll need.
But, Were Having Spaghetti-Os!
Wear an orange shirt.
Your Guide's Personal Turkey Doneness Chart
Not done yet.
(If youre reading this after Thanksgiving, just think of it as
(If youre planning to eat and drive, see "Handling Food Safely on the Road" from the USDA.)
(If youre planning to drink and drive, DONT!)