Nov 18, 2008

Something turkey this way comes

by Tim Mattingly

Thanksgiving is a holiday highlighted by tender turkey, succulent stuffing and a little dab of cranberry sauce. On this holiday, Americans indulge in culinary comforts until they slip, like gravy, into turkey-induced dreams.

I remember, as a child one such Thanksgiving Day, accompanied by the soft hum of an electric knife. My mother guided its gentle melody as it effortlessly sliced the turkey’s breast. I remember, my mother, lulled into a false sense of security by the knife’s siren song, until the blade struck blood and her hand split wide — dinner stained uneatable.

Thanksgiving is named so because it is a day to give thanks. On Nov. 27 this year, give thanks for all life’s blessings. On Nov. 28, give thanks again, for this holiday has more lurking dangers than an electric knife placed in the wrong hands.

“Choking is (a) prevalent hazard at Thanksgiving,” claims the American Red Cross on its Web site.

Through proper chewing techniques, individuals lessen the opportunity for the turkey to strike back from the afterlife. It is also important that during festivities, people do not get carried away and have too much fun, as the Red Cross claims, “laughing while eating can cause one to choke.”

However, some Thanksgivings get derailed before they even make it to the eating and by association, choking stages of the holiday. In 2002, Thanksgiving witnessed 15 homes burned to the ground by families who opted to fry their turkey dinners, according to a Fox News article entitled, “Deep-Fried Turkey Can Be Delicious, Dangerous.”

As the article explains, more and more Americans are abandoning traditional roasted turkeys for deep-fried delights — a trend that could lead to more homes lost on Thanksgiving Day.

“In recent years, deep-frying turkeys has become increasingly popular, however, this new tradition is a recipe for a holiday tragedy,” said the New York City Fire Department on its official Web site. “The use of turkey fryers is considered a serious injury and fire risk.”

While such things as cutlery accidents, choking and setting flame to a home could be chalked up to “carelessness,” the final danger of Thanksgiving affects everyone.

In 2004, obesity caught up with smoking as the top killer of Americans, according to a PBS article. As Thanksgiving is a holiday revolving around eating, it presents some negative health repercussions. In 2000, 400,000 people in the United States suffered obesity-related deaths, according to PBS.

“Americans need to understand that overweight and obesity are literally killing us,” said Tommy Thompson, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in the PBS article.

A simple solution to these Thanksgiving catastrophes is to exercise, both caution and body, while celebrating the holiday.
But for the lazier among us, a final caveat — beware the turkey’s wrath. Though the bird is dead and cold, it can still return to haunt Thanksgiving. A turkey can rise like a phoenix from within a deep fryer, setting all ablaze. Or in silence bide its time, until it clings tightly within throats or in warm bellies, deadly bloats.


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