Ask Matt Labash

Ask Matt Labash: A Thanksgiving guide to cutting your turkey, maiming your children, and stealing white meat from your women; and banning baby kissing

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Dear Matt, With Thanksgiving here, who should cut the turkey and how should the meat be distributed? – Jonathan Winthrow

At my Thanksgiving table, we traditionally leave the turkey-carving to the one who has had the fewest drinks, and who can saw through bone without losing a finger. So it usually falls to my Puerto Rican houseman, Chulo. Ever since he quit his Christian street gang, Loco Para Cristo, where he committed street crime for Christ, it helps him to stick something in order to have a productive outlet for his righteous anger. Also, he has a lot of experience cutting people/things, and can separate the clavicle from the coracoid with the skill of a surgeon.

I’m therefore no expert, since Chulo handles our carving duties. But I have generally found that the sharp, serrated edge of the knife works best on the turkey. While the dull side of the blade is good for whacking lippy children who keep yelling out which part of the bird they want before you’ve asked for their plate.

As for meat distribution, it might sound childist/sexist, but in my house, we prefer the traditional Thanksgiving hierarchy. That means children get dark meat/drumsticks. Because screw ‘em, they’re smaller than we are. What are they gonna do about it? All wives and women-folk get second-rate white meat. Not out of malice or gender superiority, but because there’s such a surfeit of desirable chick food (green-bean casserole, fruit salad,  marshmallow-and-cranberry sweet potatoes) that they don’t seem to notice. That leaves the choice white-meat-eating to the men, which is appropriate since we are, after all, the hunters. Or we were, before we all grew into soft , khaki-panted, sweater-wearing cowards who need other people to do our killing for us. Still, we honor the old ways.

A common Thanksgiving mistake is to wait for dinner to be over to unbutton your pants for the tryptophan-induced catnap that you take while sitting on the couch, watching football. But why wait? Chulo unbuttons my pants right there at the table. Not only is it an excellent conversation starter (who wants to hold the turkey baster?), but it also promotes comfort and better circulation if you pass out from overeating.