My mom to my dad: “You can just stuff it.”

We never ate turkey at my house; we only ate “damn turkey.” The “damn turkey” was the one my mother cooked for various holidays.
Of course, it never occurred to anyone that we actually didn’t have to buy, cook or eat turkey at all. That option was not on our radar.

My mother hated the damn turkey because 1) It was huge; 2) You had to thaw it out in the bathtub; 3) It always needed to cook about two more hours than you thought it did and 4) Probably at a semi-conscious level she realized it was a dead animal.

She was disgusted with the damn turkey’s gizzard and neck and disgusted by the idea of stuffing its body. I think she would have filed for divorce if my father hadn’t agreed to stuff it.

Somehow I remember him sort of wrestling with the damn turkey in the kitchen sink with his arms up to the elbows covered with greasy anonymous gunk. It’s such a truly bizarre idea – putting food into the body cavity of a deceased bird.

I’ve never cooked a damn turkey. Probably my most hated Susie Homemaker experience was making meat loaf: putting the hamburger meat into a bowl, cracking an egg over it, adding some mustard and bread crumbs and squishing up the whole thing with my hands, with the meat mixture oozing out from between my fingers. I’d mold it into a “loaf” or whatever and blanket it with about a half a bottle of ketchup. I couldn’t wait to wash my hands and wash the bowl.

It was appalling but I never allowed myself to fully acknowledge appalling it was. Or to allow myself to think deeply about what I was touching – the ground up flesh of a cow, a cow who was an individual and a cow who had suffered unimaginable pain and fear.

The other meat cooking I despised was chicken. In my pre-vegan days, I would rinse off the chicken breasts with cold water and pull off the skin and the visible fat. But knowing what I know now about how unbelievably filthy chicken meat is, I probably would have wanted to put on a Hazmet suit and use straight bleach to disinfect it.

I don’t know if eggs are as dirty as chicken flesh, but they certainly are nasty. Am I the only one who’s noticed they smell like farts? Even during my meat-eating career, I had little inclination to eat eggs. The only time I liked them was when they were safely disguised in a chocolate mousse or in a crepe.

These days as a vegan, I eat honest chocolate mousse: melted dark chocolate chips, a drip of vanilla and silken tofu blended up in the blender and I’m a happy person for it.

— A Vicious Vegan blog post —


  1. The grossest thing about all of those animal body parts that you mentioned is that they were once living, feeling beings and then they became dead meat. I am glad l realized that as a teenager when looking at the little hairs on the chicken skin, served to me for dinner at my parents home. Happily, I opted out back then and I am glad to say that I have never, ever, had to cook dead animals.

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