This was my first white Thanksgiving. Here in Spokane I've had to adjust my climate expectations from the balmy bay area. The snow has been falling since last week more or less, with more to fall over the next three days. It's quite lovely and makes a warm holiday meal that much more satisfying, especially after shovelling a bunch of snow. My biggest worry over the long weekend is that we don't lose power.
Every year about this time I remember a 20/20 I watched many years ago where John Stossel investigated what became of the turkeys that receive a Presidential pardon each year. He was amazed (and so was I) that the ranch they are sent to had very few turkeys enjoying their retirement. These mass bred birds usually die shortly after arriving, most not even able to walk. Why? They have been so hybridized and inbred that they can't survive beyond a year or so. Watching one bird, so oversized, and barely able to walk, I vowed to never eat a typical $.29/lb overgrown bird from the grocery store.
I recently read how most turkeys in the store are injected with saline and flavorings just to cover the usual dry texture and bland taste of these "unnatural" birds. When I've cooked a turkey myself I would usually get a Diestel free range bird or this year it was a Fred Meyer Private Selection Organic. There is now a growing trend to raise the wild varieties of turkey whose numbers are now in some cases close to extinction. The nutritional difference between the wild varieties (what are called heritage birds) and those that are mass raised in feed lots is stark. Not to mention the load of hormones and drugs you get from your "free turkey with a purchase of $50 or more."
Of course our organic bird cost more. But I only do this once a year. So I paid $39 for a 13.5 lb bird compared to $20 for an overgrown behemoth with wings. Would you eat one of these if you had to shoot and clean it and then inject it with flavor enhancers?