Christmas celebrations are not just about cake and wine. A standout delicacy during this festive season is the turkey roast, which occupies the pride of place at the centre of the dining table to be carved and shared with family and friends.

But belonging to the ‘exotic’ variety which is priced higher than other poultry items, turkey, over the years, is being replaced with cheaper options such as duck and chicken. Pork too is a popular alternative.

Turkey roast, once a must for people, especially from the Anglo-Indian community, can now be afforded by fewer people, points out Derrick M.B. Fullinfaw, MLA and vice-chairman of the Christian Development Council, Karnataka. “While the well-to-do can still afford turkey, it being close to Rs. 300 per kilogram, many opt for duck as a whole turkey easily weighs around three to four kilograms,” he said. He also pointed out that as families are getting smaller, finishing a full turkey may not be easy.

M.C.R. Shetty, president of the Karnataka Poultry Farmers and Traders Association, said special batches of turkey are bred for Christmas, which is when demand for the bird goes up. “Otherwise, it is an exotic bird which is not commercially reared. This is why people buy duck or chicken instead, which costs around Rs. 180 to Rs. 200 and Rs. 100 to Rs. 130 respectively,” he explained.

25-year-old Allen Dominic Mendonce remembers having eaten roasted turkey only once during Christmas. “I was in class 10 then. My grandfather, who had spent a lot of time in Europe, insisted that turkey should be prepared for Christmas. That is the only time turkey has been prepared during Christmas. Otherwise, pork is the staple dish,” he says.

While fewer homes may be cooking turkey, restaurants in the city have started serving the dish in earnest, some extending the chance to indulge in the delicacy up to mid-January. At a restaurant on St. Mark’s Road, where turkey dishes have been served for the past 53 years, a kilogram of cooked turkey costs Rs. 920, a stuffed turkey would cost Rs. 860, and each plate of turkey would cost you Rs. 550 with other accompaniments, its owner said.

Another restaurant in Koramangala is serving each plate of turkey at Rs. 224, a turkey gravy dish costs Rs. 190 and roasted turkey pieces are being served for Rs. 180.

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