Now that we are all turkey-ed out over the long Thanksgiving weekend I want you to think about whether or not you bought and prepared an environmentally correct turkey. There were the good old days when one bought a frozen turkey, thawed it out, removed the giblets, washed it inside and out, stuffed it, cooked it, ate it, made sandwiches, made hash, made soup. One bird provided a couple of weeks of comestibles.
Nothing remains the same in the new millennium. We are a greener, more concerned nation now, and that concern extends to turkeys and whether or not they live as well as we do. My daughter and my grandchildren are environmentally conscious. The turkey they sent me out to buy had to be … well, not only politically correct, but since we have a Democrat in the White House, the bird had to come from a Blue State.
“New York is a Blue State,” I said, “and New York City is the bluest of cities. Will you pay my way to the Big Apple to buy a Broadway bird and throw in a ticket to see Jersey Boys?”
“No. I don’t think there are any significant turkey farms in Manhattan,” she said, “California is a Blue State, too, so you can get one right here.”
I was surprised she even ate turkey because they all look like former New York Senator Al D’Amato and he was a Republican.
“Oh, and by the way,” daughter added, “make sure it wasn’t confined to a small space. And it has to be organic.
Oh, my daughter, she would never have survived my childhood. We were five boys who slept in our own confined small room. Four of us slept in two sets of bunk beds, while the oldest son had his own bed. Now I was challenged to find a turkey that did not have to share a bedroom, let alone sleep in the top bunk. And it had to be organic.
There is so much blather about things organic. I am not sure what organic means so I looked it up: “raised or conducted without the use of hormones or synthetic chemicals.” OK. The turkey could come from a Blue State but couldn’t have gone to Woodstock. Organic also means: “constituting an integral part of a whole; fundamental.” Maybe Esalen sells turkeys.
“I need an organic turkey,” I said to the counterman who wore a starched white apron, purple exam gloves, and an Al Gore-approved hairnet.
“All are turkeys are organic,” he told me.
“Oh, and it has to be free-range.”
He reached into the display case and brought out a turkey wearing a hazmat suit that was resistant to chemical permeation.
“He wasn’t cooped up or anything like that, was he?”
“This bird came from a farm where it had its own free-range play area. It spent much of the day swaying in a hammock being fed organic grapes by a former Peace Corps member.”
“Do you know if it lived according to “green” principles?”
“The carnivore dissector person (butcher is a pejorative) wasn’t surprised by my questions. After all, we were on the border of Pacific Grove. He looked both ways, then leaned halfway across the counter.
“Mister, this bird had its own non-toxic Fisher-Price toys.”
I asked him if there was a spirit of sensitivity at the turkey farm. He told me that even the roosters undergo sensitivity and anger management training. I needed to know one more thing.
“How did he die? It’s important to my grandchildren that it had a good life – and a good death.” He nodded that he understood.
“Lethal injection,” he whispered.
Yes, the turkeys think they are going to eagle school and need to be sedated for the plane ride to Miramar Naval Air Base.”
“That is humane. But could he have escaped his fate?”
“Only with a word from the United States Congress Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction.”
“You mean the Super Committee?”
“I guess, then, he really never had a chance.”