Another Modest Proposal
A Thanksgiving Eel: Should We Serve
Eel Instead of Turkey?
…historians agree that eel was likely present at the first Thanksgiving dinner, a fact I had until that moment been completely unaware of….
—The New York Times, November 19, 2012No matter how you think or feel
about a turkey or an eel,
you haven’t really started living
until you’ve thought of a Thanksgiving
that features, as the plat du jour,
not turkey, but the eel. For sure,
there won’t be drumsticks, but the skin
of eels can be as crisp and thin
as that of turkeys, and the tail,
done scrumptiously, can hardly fail
to rouse the sated connoisseur
to feats of further eating! Tours
de force of chefly expertise
could be relied upon to tease
new tastes out of an ugly fish
that soon would be the chosen dish,
not just of pilgrims and their hosts,
but all of us, proposing toasts
of heartfelt thanks and hearty cheer
to the Thanksgiving Eel. Hear! Hear!
The turkey then would be beneath
contempt, plus, kids could wear the teeth.
Bruce Bennett teaches writing and literature at Wells College in Aurora, New York. He would have liked to see the 700-pound block of cheddar carved into a replica of Mount Rushmore, but is just as happy that the Thanksgiving Eel did not beat out the turkey.