My first WordPress post is going to be about, of all things, turkey. Sounds so hokey, doesn’t it? I mean, a blog should be about things of substance. It should be profound, or humorous, or at least a bit witty. “Turkey” doesn’t really suggest any of those things; at least, not at first blush.
For the second year running, we are procuring a fresh turkey from a local farm. It makes me feel good to talk about our fresh, organic, free-range bird. I feel like I know him. He is already part of our family, even though he hasn’t yet been plucked and peppered. Tomorrow afternoon he will meet his maker, and I will stuff his de-feathered and decapitated body into my large cooler shortly thereafter. For a day, his body will rest in our spare refrigerator, downstairs in the laundry room. On Tuesday afternoon, I will make up a salt and sugar brine, and submerge him in it for a good 24 hours. Thursday morning will find our turkey stuffed and trussed on my V-shaped roasting rack. DD1 will paint him all over with melted butter, and then into the oven he will go for the afternoon. I can already smell his moist flesh roasting, the pan collecting juicy drippings for gravy. I can’t wait to taste the succulent breast meat, and am giddy with all the recipes for turkey leftovers swimming around in my brain.
Some people might think this a bit savage, talking glibly about a pet-like bird being slaughtered and butchered and cooked up for eating. Hogwash. Gobbledy-gook. Not only is turkey synonymous with Thanksgiving, but buying a local free-range bird is a wonderful way to give thanks for our food. This turkey has an identity. He’s not one of a million beakless battery birds. He doesn’t come wrapped in plastic, with a nutrition label affixed to his thigh. There’s no silly little pop-up thingamajig stuck in his leg to tell you when he’s done cooking. This bird’s life – and death – are being treated mindfully and with purpose. We will eat him, make broth from his bones, and be nourished for many meals by his body. We are thinking about this bird before he is even pecking the last few grubs out of the ground. We will think about him for many days after, as well.
I think this notion of mindful eating is something lost by most of us today. We do not plan for our food- whether it be planting and growing it ourselves, or preserving our harvest, or seeking out food sources that we have intimate knowledge of. We are very impulsive with our eating habits. We eat what we’re “in the mood for”, instead of what is available. I am guilty of this myself. It is hard to escape our culture’s open-24-hours mindset. We expect everything to be right at hand, ready to be bought and unwrapped and consumed. And it should be no more than 99 cents a pound this time of year, too.