Thursday Thirteen Reviewer Mel Gallopavo

Meleagris Gallopavo specializes in book reviews.


You'll note that many of my favorite books are vegetarian cook books. Seriously, with all the stories you hear about corporate poultry farming, who wouldn't want to try a little tofu?

Anyway, I'm not much of a writer myself, but I know what I like. Here are thirteen books I've encountered lately These works range from the inspired to the obscene.

First a note about books for young people: There are many, many children's books devoted to saving the turkeys this time of year. I love these stories. Let me just make it clear: Mel. Loves. These. Books. Too bad the spirit of the oatmeal or soap turkey, as illustrated in A Plump and Perky Turkey, doesn't linger past grade school.

Though I applaud these stories, most of the books ignore the underlying tragedy of the turkeys' plight.

Sure, go ahead and mock their battle for survival. Run, run, run, terrified turkeys. ha. ha. ha. Nice illustrations, though.

1. Ten Fat Turkeys: Fun time with ten turkeys who really enjoy life.

2. A Plump and Perky Turkey. What is it with the obsession about turkey's weight? Look to yourselves, readers.

3. Dav Pilkey can't go wrong with him, except with that underpants thing he had going.

4. Ancient Turkey. A big disappointment. Nothing to do with the plight of aging poultry. We hope someone addresses this serious subject eventually, viz, there are no ancient turkeys. I know what I'm talking about.

5. At $192 (only $174 used), it's pricey, but well worth studying. This sort of book should be a bigger seller. As one reviewer said, "This book is hugely impressive. Anybody at all who is involved in poultry health, in the widest sense, should have this book at hand." Avian Pathology

Just be glad I didn't list any of the books about avian flu. That stuff is Hot Zone scary--only guess who the bad guys are in these books? Hint: Not the idjit farmers.

6. An Abomination! What kind of literature is this? Ten issues of a magazine devoted to hunting one species? Ridiculous. One has to wonder what sort of new material the editors can find ten times a year, year after year. Find a turkey. Lure it to its death. Over and over. But I'm not curious or sick enough to crack the pages of this obscene publication.

7. 103 Uses for a Turkey Fryer. I am delighted how few of them involve turkeys. Jam, lobster, all sorts of good things. Mmm. Lobsters are just like big bugs and as any cognoscenti knows, bugs are mighty tasty. But at the moment. Oh, you won't find jam in one of these fryers today. Oh, heavens. Today, I have but one wish for you people using one of these things: May the flimsy legs of the device crack and break and spill hot oil all over your new deck.

8. Thanksgiving Mice. I haven't actually read this one. But a search inside uncovers the truth: the word "turkey" does not appear. I have to applaud the fact that in this story, at least, "Thanksgiving" and "turkey" are divorced.

9. Over the River: A Turkey's Tale. A poignant fantasy of the perfect sort of Thanksgiving. If the two words must appear together, allow it to be in the spirit of this book.

10. Mollie Katzen is one of my favorite writers. Here's a collection anyone can love. I'm still so stunned of some of the books out there [kate adds, very quietly: check out his blog on Amazon. Good advice in there. I'm following it today. Alton Brown may suggest brining but this guy says skip it and since Jim, our turkey, is 22 lbs, there's not enough salt in the house.] The last three I'll review can only be soothing to the spirit.

11. The Almost No Fat Holiday Cookbook: Festive Vegetarian Recipes. Plump turkeys? Ha. Not here, baby.

12. Vegetarian Celebrations.

13. My very favorite! Vegetarian Times Complete Thanksgiving Cookbook. Buy it, treasure it and above all, use it.

Thank you,


  1. Happy Turkeyless Thanksgiving Mel!

  2. Oh, I LOVE this post - too kewl.

    Happy Thanksgiving, girlfriend.

  3. Hee! I almost feel guilty about the two turkeys we're making tomorrow (in-laws don't have today off). Honestly, though--I don't know how it's possible to screw up turkey. Throw it in the oven and forget about it. Voila. Or skewer it and stick it in the rotisserie and forget about it. They always turn out great. *shrug*


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