Remember the good old days when you simply ran out and bought a frozen turkey, thawed it out, removed the giblets, washed it, stuffed it, cooked it, carved it, ate it, made sandwiches, made hash, and finally made soup? One bird provided a month of comestibles.
None of that is true anymore. We are a greener, more concerned nation now and that concern extends to turkeys and whether they live at least as well as we do. I have some close friends who are environmentalists so when I invited them for Thanksgiving dinner I knew the turkey I served had to be … well, not only politically correct but since we have a Democrat in the White House it had to come from a Blue State.
I didn’t think there were any significant turkey farms in a state as blue as California. In fact I’m surprised people in blue states eat turkey at all because turkeys look so much like former New York Senator, Al D’Amato, and he was a Republican.
Also, because of my friends’ strict adherence to environmental concerns I knew the turkey could not have been confined to a small space throughout all its stages of development.
Organic turkeys probably wouldn’t have survived where I grew up. 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 got his own bed. Now I was challenged to find a turkey that not only was organic but had a better upbringing than I did.
There is so much blather about things organic. I’m not sure what organic means so I looked it up: “raised or conducted without the use of drugs, hormones, or synthetic chemicals.” OK. The turkey had to come from a blue state but could never have lived in the Haight-Ashbury section of San Francisco, or have attended a rock concert. Organic also means: “constituting an integral part of a whole; fundamental.” Hmm. I wondered if Esalen sells turkeys. Off I went to my Whole Politically Correct Foods Store.
“I need an organic turkey,” I said to the counterman, who wore a starched white apron, purple exam gloves and a hair net approved by OSHA.
“All of our turkeys are organic,” he told me.
“Oh, and it has to be free-range.”
“Not only are our turkeys free-range, they were driven to the range in a Prius.”
He reached into the display case and came up with a bird wearing a Hazmat suit that was completely resistant to chemical permeation.
“He wasn’t cooped up or anything like that, was he?” I asked.
“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 former Solyndra employees. It slept on 100% pure Alpaca pillow with a bamboo cover. Its coop was heated and cooled with solar panels.”
“Do you know whether it lived according to “green” principles? And do you know if it was an independent thinker?”
The meat dissector person was not surprised by my questions. He looked, furtively, in both directions, then leaned half way across the counter.
“Mister, not only did this bird have its own non-toxic Fisher-Price toys, but if turkeys had the right to vote this one would have cast a ballot for Jill Stein, the Green Party Candidate.
“Was there a spirit of sensitivity at the turkey farm?”
“Even the roosters undergo sensitivity and anger management training.”
“I need to know one more thing. How did it die?”
“Is all this gobbledygook really important?”
“It’s important to my environmentally conscious friends who are all against the death penalty. They need to know that it had a humane ending.”
He nodded that he understood. His compassion belied someone used to wrapping his hands around sweetbreads.
“Yes, the turkeys are told they are going to learn to fly like eagles and need to be sedated for the long trip to the Top Gun School at Miramar Naval Air Base.”
“That is humane. But could he have escaped his fate?”
“You mean … like, put on a path to citizenship?”
“No. What I mean is pardoned – so that he escapes his fate and returns to the turkey population at large.”
“Only with a word from the President.”
“See gobbledygook is important.”