Point/Counterpoint: Turkey versus ham for your holiday meal

Our writers duke it out in the ultimate battle between these two holiday proteins

Around the holidays, there are usually several large meals to attend. But therein lies the age-old question: which holiday meal protein reins supreme? Will it be the old faithful turkey? Or the young, hip ham? Keep reading to find out!

Point: Turkey is both tasty and ethical

The best meat choice for your holiday dinner is really a matter of preference, but if you’re not sure, let me enlighten you about the benefits of turkey.

Turkey is the classic holiday meat, and for good reason. It goes with all the best festive foods! Whether I’m eating turkey or ham or anything else, the meal isn’t really about the meat, it’s about everything else on the plate. I want to be shoving stuffing down my throat at an alarming rate, and stuffing just isn’t the same without turkey.

And how am I going to eat cranberry sauce if I can’t put it on my turkey? You can’t put cranberry sauce on ham, or at least it’s not normal. It’s like people expect me to have a quality holiday meal without my damn cranberry sauce. It’s absurd! 

Beyond just tasting good, turkey is the more ethical meat. Do you wish you could cut down on your meat consumption because you feel bad about consuming industrially farmed animals capable of suffering, but just don’t have the willpower to do anything about it? Then let me propose to you the slightly better option of eating turkey. Pigs are like muddy dogs, and some of my best friends are dogs! Turkeys, however, are feathered reptiles with tiny brains that can barely keep themselves alive anyways. If you’re looking for the farm animal that is the closest to not being classified as living, then a turkey is your best bet.

At the end of the day, you can eat whatever you want at a holiday dinner. But the meat that goes best with all your favourite foods and is arguably slightly more ethical than your other options is undeniably turkey.

— David Spak

Counterpoint: Explore new horizons with ham

Listen. Any old nerd with a baby-like palette, who doesn’t want to be challenged when it comes to their food, will obviously pick turkey as their holiday meal pick. Don’t be a nerd this month.

Why feel like you have to be tied down to “tradition” and “ritual” when it comes to your holiday meal? Don’t you ever want to try something different for once? You can try out a whole new table of dishes that fit well with ham but don’t with turkey, like scalloped potatoes (which if you’ve never had, you’re truly missing out and I feel bad for your baby tastebuds). Broadening your tastes and experimenting a little during the holidays can open you up to new holiday food traditions you would have previously waved off as utter tomfoolery.

And if you’re still apprehensive about going with ham, don’t feel afraid of missing out on some of the things a turkey dinner grants you. Missing the sweet taste of cranberry sauce? Put applesauce on your ham! Afraid you’re going to miss out on the endless number of turkey sandwiches you get to make with turkey dinner leftovers? Ham sandwiches are arguably just as fire, and with a sizeable ham, you get the same amount of sandwiches as you would with a turkey.

Also, we all know the only good meat in a turkey is the dark meat. It’s moist, flavourful, and makes the best sandwiches. White meat, on the other hand, dries out like a bitch no matter how well you keep it, requiring you to douse it with a healthy amount of gravy to make it palatable. Otherwise, you just have to eat it in its sad, dry state. With ham, you don’t have to worry: as long as you keep it well, it is always a pleasure to eat.

So go for the ham. Be different. Be you. You want to try new things, right? Then try ham.

Andrew McWhinney

Andrew McWhinney

Andrew McWhinney is a fifth-year English and political science combined honors student, as well as The Gateway's 2019-20 Editor-in-Chief. He was previously The Gateway's 2018-19 Opinion Editor. An aspiring journalist with too many opinions, he's a big fan of political theory, hip-hop, and being alive.

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