Giving Thanks for Gerbils

When I think of things I’m thankful for, my gerbils, Charlie (left) and Gus (right) are pretty high up there on the list. And as anyone who has ever talked to me for longer than five minutes can tell you, I love those little guys more than some people love their children.

Gus and Charlie came to me a year ago through Shawsheen River Gerbils and not a day goes by where they haven’t delighted me, frustrated me, made me laugh, or figured out some way to make me love them even more than I did when I woke up that morning. They jump on my lap when I’m sitting on the couch, they chatter at me when I pet them, they eat from my hand, and they’ve also learned how to fake “losing their balance” (and I know it’s fake because they are perfectly capable of keeping their balance most of the time) so they can hide under the couch and eat all the crumbs there. They are, in short, perfect.

So to celebrate Thanksgiving, as well as their Adoptaversary, and also because I will take any excuse to photograph my gerbils doing something adorable, I decided to make them a little “turkey dinner”.

If you want to re-create what I did for any special furry friends in your life, it’s fairly simple. You need the following eight things:

  1. Sliced/slivered almonds
  2. Hummus (gerbils, especially mine, will pretty much murder each other for hummus. It’s their absolute favorite treat.)
  3. A cheese grater
  4. A pomegranate
  5. A carrot
  6. A melon baller (a spoon will work just as well, but a melon baller makes things easier)
  7. Sculpting tools. Use whatever you like – I used a cake tester and a butter knife
  8. A small plate to place your wondrous culinary creation upon

The first step is to grate the carrot to create a base for the “turkey” to sit on. This is actually a nice way to put carrots in salads that I think works better than having slices of them, but that’s just me.

See? Look how pretty that is.

Next we start on the “turkey”. I suggest using a melon baller to get the hummus only because it creates a more three dimensional shape, whereas a spoon would create a flatter smear. Don’t worry about the hummus retaining its perfect globe. It’s not going to come out of the melon baller that way. Use your butter knife to get it out so it’s roughly in a dollop.

Now for turkey sculpting. Again, hummus isn’t going to remain smooth, so don’t get hung up on making it look too perfect. If you basically make it into a wedge shape that’s bisected into two mounds, it’s going to read as “turkey”. Find two thin almond slivers to stick on the small, pointy end, and you get the drumsticks. And then I added pomegranate just to make it look seasonal, and because gerbils don’t, to my knowledge, like cranberries.

And that’s it! It is, I promise, the easiest bit of Thanksgiving “cooking” you will ever do.

Plus, it’s a real crowd-pleaser. You can tell it’s a crowd-pleaser because Gus and Charlie were willing to a) eat in a strange place that isn’t their cage, and b) were not bothered in the slightest by my camera, which usually they either try to eat or run away from.


So happy Thanksgiving, dear readers, from me, Gus, and Charlie, to you and all your fuzzy friends.

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2 responses to “Giving Thanks for Gerbils

  1. Hummus is good, but for gerbils the lemon juice and garlic is a big NO NO. Did you know that?
    And if you’re not making it homemade and buying it in the store instead, there is probably MSG in it which is not a flavor enhancer, but a chemical/drug that opens up the nerve endings on your taste buds over 300% which is why the food tastes, not better, but amplified; and MSG is under the name of “OTHER NATURAL INGREDIENTS” as well when it is inside of fruit based or cereals, etc.

  2. One other thing Julia; are you a relative of the Haas family inEdgartwon on Martha’s Vineyard, seeing you live in MASS. and got your gerbils there as well; curious; I met them while doing the wood floors in ’98 to ’99 there on the beach with the freshwater lake in the back.

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