November 26, 2010
Stuffed possum fails to catch on with Thanksgiving focus group
KNOXVILLE--A recent focus group conducted by a Knoxville-based firm found that consumers do not care for stuffed possum as the main course of the Thanksgiving meal.
The study, which was performed by the marketing firm of Adah Henley of Chestnut St., revealed that users tend to favor the traditional trappings of the November holiday feast. Not a single participant of the study preferred the consumption of urban-dwelling marsupial to the more conventional North American turkey.
Though the possum was soaked in cold salt water for 10 hours, stuffed with herbs and breadcrumbs, and slow roasted with bouillon cubes, bay leaves, celery stalks, chopped onion, potatoes and carrots, study participants were not drawn in by the mammal's mouthwatering aroma or succulent flavor. Even when paired with side dishes like squirrel cakes and rat loaf, Henley's creation did not find favor with those participating in the study.
"It was gross," commented one focus group member, who asked to remain anonymous. "Why would we eat that at all, ever? This isn't Alabama."
The focus group consisted of 12 people: eight Knoxvillians, two Clinton expats who have now live in Ohio, as well as two horrified New Yorkers who were last seen fleeing the area in a taxi.
Other data collected by Henley revealed the holiday focus group's distaste for grilled muskrat, country fried snake and pan-fried pig tripe.
The study found that the mere presence of such dishes led to a dramatic increase in feelings of nausea and anger. Participants of the focus group reported both the desire "to vomit all over the table" and "to go through the drive thru at Burger King on the way home." A full 100 percent of the focus group felt their Thanksgiving needs would best be served elsewhere.
Other independent local research has led to similar conclusions. In 2005, a study conducted by Jim Cook of Wartburg found that only 15 percent of survey participants enjoyed the taste of barbecued raccoon on Independence Day.
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