Bigger is not better when it comes to birds, and this Thanksgiving we're going to see smaller options for centerpieces of the feasts.  

If you've ever tried to put a huge turkey into a small fryer, you know it's a hot mess.  Most of us want smaller turkeys, and turkey ranchers are doing their best to oblige.

In a pandemic year, relatives may not be traveling to your house to help you eat this Thanksgiving and with fewer people around the table, most families are going to want smaller turkeys.

CNN said some of the largest grocery chains are buying smaller turkeys and increasing the availability of boneless and bone-in turkey breasts for this holiday season, and farmers might be harvesting birds earlier.

So how small is a "smaller" bird?  Grocery stores are ordering turkeys that weigh 16 pounds or less, for the most part.

I tried to put a 20-pound turkey in the turkey fryer in the backyard one year, and that was a total disaster.  The directions are clear that we should only attempt to fry a 12-pound bird, but my family took that as a suggestion and decided to let our confidence guide our efforts to get 'er done with a bigger hunk of protein.  The oil overflowed and the turkey didn't cook evenly, but we ate it anyway and lived to tell about it. And now we always look for 12-pound turkeys if we decide to fry.

With a smaller turkey, it's easier to avoid leftovers, and we don't have to eat a week's worth of turkey pot pie, turkey enchiladas, and turkey sandwiches with horseradish cheddar, although those are delicious. Smaller turkeys are more practical than larger ones, especially in 2020 when large buffet-style gatherings might not be the best idea.

As long as the pies don't shrink, we'll be okay.