Thanksgiving has always been a time for the traditional and the trendy to do battle across the backdrop of a stressful family dinner. Some of us are all about integrating new techniques and dishes into the holiday canon, while some will unleash fire and brimstone upon the chef if there is so much as a sprout out of place.
There are few better ways to spice up the inevitable fiery familial atmosphere than with an unconventional and divisive turkey recipe. Enter this year’s contender for most contentious seasonal fair – the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Turkey.
Dispensing almost entirely with the Pilgrims’ vision for what a Thanksgiving feast should be, the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Turkey has an angry, sunburned look. The color created by the addition of copious quantities of corn-based snackery can best be described as “hostile”.
In the same way that Amazonian poison dart frogs display virulent patterns to ward off potential predators, so too does this iteration of turkey indignantly and pugnasciously seem to scream: “don’t eat me!”
The striking centrepiece is created using ground up Cheetos, applied to the skin with liberal quantities of butter and then roasted in a bag for several hours. The result is a carefully crusted bird, that is guaranteed to have a real crunch and provoke serious discussion amongst dinner guests.
The result is certainly visually arresting. Few can deny the definite shock and awe that this turkey will have over your table. It may even stun irritatingly chatty family members into shocked silence, at least for a few minutes. A big tick for the turkey. The notoriously spicy snacks will also give your meal a unique flavor – if you like your food hot, this may be a great way to shake up old habits.
However, there are more than a few potential downsides of the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos approach. The elephant in the room is that not everyone likes Cheetos. Here, their unique flavour is a drawback – such industrial quantities of the snack will certainly permeate the entire bird, ruining Thanksgiving for unknown numbers of guests.
There is also a question mark over how well Flamin’ Hot Cheetos go with all the other classic components of a Thanksgiving dinner – Cheetos and stuffing sounds like a disaster waiting to happen. This brings us to what is probably the primary drawback of the Cheetos turkey: normal turkeys are actually really nice. Crispy skin.
Bit of bacon. Stuffing and gravy. Lovely. One can’t help but feel that this orange intrusion, whilst novel in many ways, would become increasingly unwelcome as the reality of a meal sans “real” turkey began to dawn.
The temptation of putting your guests through the trauma of a Flamin’ Hot Cheetos turkey is undoubtedly great, if only to satisfy the curiosity of discovering what it actually tastes like. However, for this year, trendy risk may outweigh traditional reward. If you’re feeling extra brave, it may be worth a go. But, for those who can’t face an entire table of angry accusatory family members holding you solely responsible for Thanksgiving failure, stick with a basic bird for 2017.