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Zepeda: A drumstick to pick with Thanksgiving

A deranged creature staggered out of my bedroom 365 days ago with a pair of extra elastic sweatpants and a fair amount of regret. Fumbling down the stairs, he waddled to the medicine cupboard and pulled out an assortment of different pain relievers, along with three chalky Tums. This creature was a loser; and I was this shamed creature.

Thanksgiving Day – the annual battle between humanity and the ruthless race of squawkers known as the turkeys. For the past few years, my turkey has held the high ground behind bunkers of mashed potatoes surrounded by a thick moat of molten gravy. Hurling chunks of saturated stuffing at my weakened stomach, that unprincipled fowl of a foe used tactics unbecoming for a jungle fighter.

Each year, I penguin-shuffle away from the table battleground in a bout of intestinal-distressed defeat. The turkey had destroyed me, and I failed to destroy the whole turkey. No longer will I tolerate a loss in this delectable squabble. This year, I shall waft the fumes of victory. This year, the turkey shall know the wrath of Kurt the Carnivore.

The art of eating is rather complicated and involves years of training. Before entering into a tussle with a turkey, one must know his or her succulent foe thoroughly. A disciplined eye can spot a turkey 10 feet out, lurking between the green peas and golden biscuits. Masters of cunning and deception, one well-skilled turkey can easily lure a family of unsuspecting gluttons into a chow coma.

For any foodie attempting to fend off these feather fiends, I recommend the proper attire.

A hefty wool sweater capable of catching scattered food remnants is key.

Continuing with the fashion theme, cargo pants stocked with Alka-Seltzers come in handy for emergencies. Heavy cranberry sauce on the cheeks makes for a fine war paint as well.

As for tools, I’d go with a large and fueled chainsaw. If the roaring carnage of a chainsaw in a house full of one’s relatives seems a bit peculiar (don’t see how it could), a standard-issue, three-pronged fork also will work.

Various methods exist on how to take a turkey down. Some like the brute force approach – a technique based on total tasty annihilation. Though it may seem effective at first, the turkey will keep sending waves of unrelenting tender morsels until their opponent succumbs to the flavor invasion. I prefer to employ stealth at the dinner table.

Smothering my finest collared shirt in gravy and acting half asleep, I lull the turkey into a false sense of security by making it think I have been subdued. Once the delicious demon thinks it has won, I spring into action.

Of course, the turkeys adapt. Every Thanksgiving, they grow smarter and trickier. Ladies and gentlemen, batten down the plates and prepare the forks. The only good turkey is a gobbled turkey.

• Kurt Zepeda is a St. Charles resident and a senior at Marmion Academy in Aurora. He enjoys running, writing and the occasional confection. His column runs every other Thursday in the Kane County Chronicle. Contact him at

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