A whole host of traditions arose from this. The big meal was served at supper time and as much as possible of the feast was pre-prepared and in the freezer as possible. All that is really left for the day was getting the stuffing made, cooking the bird or other meat and cooking the potatoes.
Over time I have come to stress less about this. Roasting a big turkey is the easiest thing to cook in the world. Ask me what my opinions are about how turkey came to be the chosen food for the big meal and they will be a lot like my previous meanderings about how knitting evolved and the smart development of styles of knitted goods. Same thing.
Women - who generally cooked the day of the feast were smart. They too wanted to celebrate and made a very simple to cook and delicious meal. Turkey of size not only provided the food for today but provided food for the next several days.
Anyhow, when I shop for turkey, if we are having turkey any particular year, I just choose the biggest bird.
I was just in the kitchen, looking at the label to so I could hit the turkey cooking manual (Otherwise known as the Canadian Cookbook by Nellie Lyle Pattinson, sadly unavailable now, but put your comment on the review list so they wise up - best basic cookbook ever)...
That bird sitting upstairs in my kitchen is 12.62 kilograms. 12.62. KILOGRAMS
Biggest freaking bird I ever had. According to my reference cookbook, the bird will go in the oven (or on the BBQ as Mr. Needles enjoys and has mastered the art of the roasting the bird on the BBQ, his contribution to the big day) at 11:00a.m. It is a darn good thing that work is closed today.
Anyway, Dear World, next year when it is time for me to buy my Christmas bird, please send me eyes that recognize freaking huge rather than just a big bird, OK? Let my head recognize that if I can barely lift the sucker (because, trust me, Mr. Needles is doing all the lifting and carrying), it is a sign that it is a very very large beast. Because really, I may have just gone a weeeeeeeee bit overboard on the 'big' side this year.
May each and everyone of you have the best and brightest day.