14 Torturous stages of eating a Thanksgiving turkey leg (GIFs)
There is no morsel of seasonal fowl more delicious than the drumstick.
We all can imagine a day in Futureland, where turkeys are made entirely of their more succulent appendages, but alas, with that deliciousness comes a great deal of sacrificed dignity.
1. Leg lust
Finally, after hours of cooking or awkward conversation with a cousin in inexplicable cargo jorts, whose name you're unsure of and you are too embarrassed to ask afterward, it's time to eat. You sit, perhaps primly, gazing over the spread and deciding what you'll eat: biscuits (yes), sweet potatoes (hell yes), green bean casserole (eh), cranberry sauce (hard pass). That's when you see it: Glistening with deliciousness and the tastiest shade of golden brown, a sexy turkey leg. Two of them.
2. Attempting to kill an interloper with a dirty look
Oh, crap. Cousin Jorts is eyeing up your prize. Better stare him down. Don't hold back. Funnel all the hatred you felt crawling down I-95 in bumper-to-bumper traffic with all those people who didn't seem to understand what an indicator was for, and focus it on the man who is wearing denim cutoffs in late November. Yes, feel the rage. Oh, no. You felt too much rage, and now you've gone and given him the finger. Are those tears? Abort, abort!
3. Volunteering to carve the turkey
To distract from your faux pas, volunteer to carve the turkey. How hard can it be? Your idiot sister-in-law did it last year, so you're guessing not so hard.
4. Regretting volunteering to carve the turkey
Dammit, it is hard. How can someone who thinks nuclear is pronounced "nuke-you-lurr" and passes on Facebook sisterhood chain letters have been so adept at handling sharp objects? Then there's the leg: Once you get to it, you're going to have to wrestle with turkey corpse to separate bone from socket, which is a) gross, and b) impossible. Watch in dismay as practically half your bounty is left attached to the turkey's butt.
5. Soothing your shame of failure with the comforting thought of delicious dark meat
Whatever. You have turkey leg on your plate now, so your job is done. Pass the knife to Jorts, pretend you're going to high-five him, leave him hanging anyway, and think about how your mouth is about to be really happy.
6. Pretending that you might attempt some sort of graceful drumstick handling
You use a delicate pincer grasp to lift the bird appendage to your mouth, and immediately realize your mistake. Your grasp is tenuous, your fingers, slick. You have two choices: Admit early defeat, and place the leg back on your plate, or abandon all pretense and shove this mofo in your mouth, stat.
7. The initial greasy stage
Good girl. You chose the undignified option. There is no dignity at Thanksgiving. Just ask your aunt and uncle, who are whisper-fighting about what sounds like an office affair not two seats down from where your drunk older brother is slumped face-first in the gravy. This is when you realize that the thing that makes dark meat so moist is what appears to be about 6 liters of pure meat grease.
8. Gnawing through crispy skin
What is this made of? Kevlar? You can't get a good grip, and you're sorely wishing you'd worn your retainer all those years ago. Quick! Puncture it with a canine! Yes! Now we're cooking with gas.
9. Finding your first bit of gristle
Ugh! There's nothing like the telltale crunch of tooth on cartilage or the unmistakable twang of a snapped tendon to remind you that this turkey used to be an actual animal as opposed to a tasty meat morsel. Ew, it's so gross. Gag a little, then muscle through it because this is turkey leg we're talking about, dammit.
10. Becoming a repulsive caricature of your former self
At some point you realize that everyone who isn't wasted is fighting, so take this opportunity to turn full Gollum, and just tear this bad boy apart, picking at it with your fingers, tearing chunks off with your teeth, sucking bits out from under your fingernails... Girl, you do you.
You've been eating for what feels like hours, and yet you don't feel particularly full. How can that be? Oh. Turns out turkey legs are a culinary lie — meager bits of tasty meat propped up by lumpy bits of gristle and welded onto the knobbly bits of the bone.
Forget this turkey leg. Seriously. Jorts is already on seconds over there, so swallow your pride, and ask for whatever other meat there is. What's that, Jorts? Just the neck? You're giving Jorts the finger again. Better just slink away.
13. The final greasy stage
You are covered in bits of meat butter, have alienated half your family and don't know if the relationship you have with your cousin will ever be the same again. A fine sheen of turkey sweat covers every inch of exposed skin and... Hey, what's that on your plate? Oh yeah, the other turkey leg!
14. Leg lust
That's when you see it: Glistening with deliciousness and the tastiest shade of golden brown, a sexy turkey leg...