Long Live Butter and Bread! Kevin’s Take on a Funny White House Thanksgiving Tradition
Everyone knows the story of the Mayflower and the first Thanksgiving, but have you heard the tale of the White House turkeys? As a history nut, this is one of my favorite Thanksgiving fun facts. Every year shortly before Turkey Day, the president officially pardons a Thanksgiving turkey, saving it from the White House cooks. There’s some debate among historians about when this tradition started. Some say it goes all the
way back to President Lincoln, who supposedly gave “clemency” to a turkey in 1865! Others claim it started with President Truman, who was serving when the poultry industry first began making an annual “official turkey presentation” to the president in 1947. However, according to The White House Historical Association, not every president pardoned a turkey after Truman. Kennedy, Nixon, and Carter each saved the lives of turkeys on occasion and sent them to live in farms and zoos. But it wasn’t until President George H. W. Bush took office that the pardon became an official act and tradition. In 1989, Bush famously told reporters, "But let me assure you, and this fine tom turkey, that he will not end up on anyone's dinner table, not this guy — he's granted a presidential pardon as of right now — and allow him to live out his days on a children's farm not far from here.” Presidents have been pardoning a turkey (and often sending another to the oven) ever since! Last year, President Trump pardoned a turkey named Corn. This left another turkey, Cob, for Thanksgiving dinner. But in 2019, he pardoned both turkeys: Butter and Bread! Personally, I’m soft at heart, so I hope that this year, President Biden also gives both birds a pass. The more I think about this tradition, the more tempting it is to plate up a Thanksgiving Tofurkey alongside my Jell-O this year.
Impress your Thanksgiving guests with this perfectly roasted — and easy — turkey!
Ingredients • 1 whole turkey, thawed • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
• Salt and pepper to taste
Directions 1. Preheat the oven to 450 F. 2. Remove packaging and giblets from inside of the turkey. 3. Place the turkey in a broiling pan breast-side up and rub it with salt and pepper. Pour the broth around the turkey. 4. Place the pan in the oven and turn the temperature down to 350 F. Turkey should cook for 12–15 minutes per pound, typically 3–4 hours. 5. Remove the turkey from the oven every 45 minutes and baste it with the broth. 6. Once finished, let the turkey rest for 15–20 minutes before carving and serving.
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