This year's pair of not-to-be-tasted turkeys have arrived in Washington and have been given their official names -- Popcorn and Caramel -- in advance of Wednesday's White House turkey pardoning ceremony.
The two Minnesota-born almost 40-pound toms were the stars of a meet-and-greet Tuesday at the Willard Hotel where the turkeys are staying.
"Well, it's a little more plush than at home," said John Burkel, the 2013 chairman of the National Turkey Federation, who raised the birds, as he looked around one of the hotel's grand ballrooms.
"They've been very good guests," Barbara Bahny, the Willard's director of public relations, gushed to Whispers. "They are very beautiful [and] they don't smoke in their rooms; it's helpful to us."
The turkeys do, however, attract a lot of attention by gobbling loudly in tandem and strutting about. Burkel revealed that one of the birds (he thought it was the one deemed "Popcorn") was better behaved than the other.
"The one that I'm more favoriting has just been a lot more calm to work with," Burkel said. "The other guy, he struts a little more, he's a little harder to handle -- he'll be OK tomorrow -- but really the one I work with the most, [he's] really just a lot calmer bird."
The White House is leaving it up to the public to decide which bird gets the official pardon. (The other one gets to live, too, just doesn't attend the ceremony.) On Tuesday, the White House put up profiles of the two birds. Besides listening to a lot of John Mayer and Vivaldi, something Burkel shared about the birds, Popcorn really digs "Halo" by Beyonce, while Caramel is more of a Lady Gaga guy.
"They kind of got into some Lady Gaga on the trip out," Burkel explained.
Additionally, the White House said that Popcorn struts and gobbles with more garbled and longer notes. Caramel's walk is more steady and deliberate and his gobble is "clear, quick and frequent." Sound files of the turkey's gobbles are also available to assist voters with the decision. And voting continues until 8 p.m. Tuesday night.
Either way, both birds will live out the rest of their days, first at Mount Vernon, and then at Morven Park, another historic estate in Virginia. Sadly, though, those lives might be short. Turkeys bred for consumption are simply too fat to survive, plagued with heart problems and other obesity-related diseases. Cobbler and Gobbler, last year's turkeys, and also Liberty, a 2011 bird, all died this year. Popcorn and Caramel may live up to their gluttonous names and suffer the same fate.