I’ve always had a fascination with advertising and the subtle, or not so subtle, ways things are sold to us. Sometimes I’ll see the way something is packaged and start analyzing all the decisions that must have gone into it and I’ll think, that’s very clever. And sometimes I think, wow, whose idea was that? Like when I saw these sugar cookies. That’s it. They’re just plain sugar cookies with a turkey design but what stands out, obviously, is the giant word TURKEY splashed across the package. If you see that you’re not going to think “Sugar cookies.” You’re going to think turkey. And I like turkey. I look forward to Thanksgiving, and also Christmas when we sometimes have turkey again. I think a lot of people have turkey at Christmas because they like turkey but also goose, which is considered more traditional, just isn’t that common in the United States.
My parents cooked a goose for Christmas one year. I’m not sure where they got it. I like to think there was one less Canada goose wandering around the park, but that’s another story. As for the taste, well, I don’t remember it very well but I think it was slightly gamey and closer to chicken than turkey. What I do remember is the globs of gelatinous fat that bubbled around it in the baking pan. Geese are a lot leaner than turkeys so they leave fewer leftovers and what is left is better suited for stews, which makes sense for large Victorian England families looking to stretch their winter food budget. Turkeys, for Victorian England families, would also be an import, unlike geese which could be sourced locally. Just not Canada geese.
The fact that this is all that I thought about after seeing the TURKEY sugar cookies just illustrates how terrible the packaging design is. I did at least think to go back and take a picture of the packaging but it wasn’t until the next day that I thought I should buy them for the sake of this post, and to see just how badly the design comes out once they’re finally baked, and to confirm that they do not, in fact, taste like TURKEY, but they were already gone. Maybe they were a Thanksgiving special—though they were put out after Black Friday. They’d been replaced by “ornament cookies”, which were also plain sugar cookies, but red with frosting.
That was a smart decision.