Turkey vs. Capon

Food, Life and Happiness

About a week ago my Dad said to me: “I guess we’re having plain ol’ turkey for Thanksgiving this year?”

I looked at him with a wearied glance. I have taken over Thanksgiving for the past several years and I have most of it down to a science at this point. For me Thanksgiving always means turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie and, of course, jellied cranberry sauce. (Don’t even think about making me eat fresh cranberry sauce or that stuff with whole cranberries in it. The canned version with the “glorp” sound is my favorite.) But I know my Dad, he had an idea and I was probably not going to like it. Somehow, some way, my easy dinner was about to get complicated.

“What would you want instead of turkey?”

“I was thinking maybe a capon. My Mom used to make them and they were really good.”

Great. I didn’t even know what a capon was, but he had already used the grandma guilt on me.

“Okay, I’ll think about it,” I said.

“But you’re going to have to call for one soon. I’m sure you’ll have to order it.”

“Well, gees, Dad when were you going to tell me? Thanksgiving is, like, next week!”

He shrugged his shoulders and said “Well, don’t worry about it. It’s no big deal.” Oh, but it was. I could tell from the look in his eyes.

See – complicated.

The next day, being daddy’s little girl and always wanting to please him (even at the ripe old age of 39), I struck out to see what getting a capon would entail. The first place I called informed me that capons were $2.69 a pound. What!? I could get a perfectly good turkey for 99 cents a pound. That was ridiculous.

I decided on the turkey.

Then I started thinking about my parents and all the years they fed me, clothed me, provided for me and, of course, the prime rib dinner they had put on for Christmas the past two years. Guilt once again prevailed.

I called three more places the next day. Each had prices HIGHER than the $2.69 a pound. I was floored. What in the world was a capon anyway? So I turned to Google. A capon, it turns out, is a castrated rooster. …well then. But it turns out that this makes the rooster less prone to fighting and helps to make the meat less gamey and more tender. Hence, a tastier bird. (see here for a full definition.) As I continued to read, and feel the guilt, I decided it wouldn’t hurt to have one good meal even if it cost a little more. I determined to call the first place in the morning to buy the capon at the price of $2.69 a pound.

I went to work and waited for a time that I could break free and call about the bird. My morning was hectic and I didn’t get a chance. I knew I had to call soon or risk not being able to get one this year. Just then my boss came in and declared: “There’s a frozen turkey for each of you out in my car. Happy Thanksgiving.”

Well. Free is certainly better than $2.69 a pound. Even if it meant disappointing my Dad.

Guess that capon will have to wait until next year. Sorry Dad.


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