Better Get a Butter Turkey

Somewhere in Italy, an artist carves beautiful women and buildings from an unfamiliar medium. The environment is chilly and he rubs his hands to keep them warm. Bits of butter flake away and then his creation is clear … a bird, a magnificent butter turkey. He looks at the butter turkey and labels it: good.


There are foods and then there are Thanksgiving foods. Turkeys worthy of burning the porch off the side of your house. Can-shaped cranberry sauce that is more plop sound than food. Mashed potatoes with lumps from slapping your mama slathered in gravy with lumps from slapping your grandma. Rolls that double as pillows. Hints of green pretending to be veggies but that really are just little leafy plates for bacon. Pie, pie and more pie. And then there is the … butter.

Somewhere between Wisconsin and Nascar exists Keller’s Creamery, a magical place where butter turkeys roam and the ghost of Michaelangelo carves butter into buxom Renaissance turkey sculptures. Since 1906, no turkeys have been harmed in the making of turkey butter sculptures. Think about it, for over 100 years you could have had a shaped butter sculpture on your table. And not a Great British Bake Off melted face turkey celebrity sculpture, a real sculpture with a waddle, beak and feathered back.

The label for this butter turkey masterpiece is simple, yet extols the butter turkey’s virtues: Keller’s Butter Sculpture, Turkey Shaped Salted Butter. Keller the Butter Sculpturer of the World doesn’t want his handiwork ruined so he encourages shoppers to “keep it refrigerated.” When you cut it open to spread butter on your Thanksgiving feast, everyone can watch it quickly morph from butter bird to just butter like those cakes that look like objects but are really just cake. This is butter that just happens to look like a turkey but is really only butter: half a pound of butter, 8 servings, 100 calories per serving. If you’re counting Thanksgiving calories, that’s 1 tablespoon of butter or enough for one spoonful of mashed potatoes.

The marketing department goes full on nostalgia to sell this butter bird:

“Family and friends will love Keller’s Creamery Turkey Shaped Butter at your Thanksgiving Dinner. Use the butter as a tasty, creamy accompaniment on bread rolls and many other Thanksgiving dishes.”

If you miss out on a Thanksgiving butter sculpture or are still bitter there wasn’t room in the wedding budget for his and her ice sculptures, Keller also sells “Bunny Shaped Salted Butter” and “Keller’s Creamery Christmas Tree Shaped Salted Butter.” Rumor has it Paula Deen is on the waiting list to be made into her own butter-shaped Thanksgiving action figure. National Butter Day is May 1st. Watch the refrigerated section! And for now, enjoy a little butter turkey with your big turkey. Happy Thanksgiving!

Amy Barnes has words at a variety of sites including McSweeney’s, Robot Butt, Weekly Humorist, College Humor and Botnik Studios. She reads submissions as a member of the Taco Bell Quarterly Day Crew. You can find her on Twitter at @amygcb and hiding from her teenagers in the laundry room. 

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