All this talk about the Turkey, or not the Turkey, reminded me of a story my great-grandpa told me about the first Christmas he and my great-grandma had together once they were married.
So, great-grandma and great-grandpa both grew up very poor and didn't have two nickles to rub together when they got married. But great-grandma loved Christmas. And she wanted to make her husband the best Christmas dinner she could. Of course the woman barely knew how to cook (her mother always told her to marry the first man who would put up with her cooking, she married the first man who cooked for her instead) and again, no money. But she got herself down to the butcher one day and asked for the cheapest cut of meat they had, which just so happened to be a brisket. Not even half a pound, but great-grandma takes it and is going to make her husband the best Christmas dinner. Except, she really has no clue what to with brisket. She'd never cooked. Never eaten it even. But she had a Jewish neighbor who had mentioned it once, so she went and got the neighbor and asked how to cook the brisket. So the neighbor shows up and tells her it's going to shrink up and she doesn't have enough, great-grandma waves her off, she's make the best Christmas dinner ever, just show her how. She neighbor shows her how and sure enough, the brisket shrinks to about half it's size. Barley enough for two people to eat (especially my huge great-grandpa). But she great-grandma pushes ahead. She makes her potatoes, her veggies, and even manages to whip a dessert (deep fried dough she called "Elf Ears", which I still love). Great-grandpa comes home and sees the food. A small serving of meat, limp veggies, and delsious potatoes (the woman knew her way around a potato), looks at his young wife who's forcing a quivering smile and says "My word! A meal for a king!" sat right down and ate every limp veggie, picked apart his brisket to make it last longer, and devoured his potatoes, proclaiming at the end that he was so stuffed he wouldn't eat for days!
Now, according to great-grandma, this was by far the worst meal she'd ever made. She even managed to light fire to one of her Elf Ears! Though she did learn how to make a darn fine brisket.
According to great-grandpa, until his dying day, it was far and away, the best dinner he'd ever eaten. And he likes his Elf Ears extra crispy thank you very much.
Every year for Christmas, they had brisket. Eventually bigger ones. Great-grandma taught my grandma (her DIL) to make brisket, she taught my mom, who taught me. We have it every year for Christmas. Other families might have ham, or duck, or turkey at Christmas, but we have brisket.