11/19/2008

Let's talk turkey


I think maybe it's Oregon's fault. It could be Jamie Oliver's fault. My heritage may have something to do with it. I'm not really sure. All I know is that I have a dream of raising a tiny little baby turkey (a poult). Bring it up right. Feed it amazingly well and then EAT IT for Thanksgiving.

I put partial blame on Oregon for spoiling me with easy access to all things fresh and natural. I'll admit it, I caught a slight case of granolaitis. (Do you know that when we first learned we were moving to OR my hilarious brother in law, David, gave me a box of granola bars so I would feel right at home? I just remembered that. Funny!)

A portion of the blame must go to my favorite chef ever, Jamie Oliver. I think that in general people eat too much meat. I'm not a veg head but I don't think we realize how many animals are slaughtered just to fill our grocery store shelves. I love the idea of having to see what must die in order for us to eat it. I think that would severely reduce my meat intake. This is where Mr. Oliver fits in. He has dead animal photos splayed all over his cook books. While it took me awhile to get used to that ( or not gag), I like it. It makes me think.

My heritage certainly plays a role. I did spend more than a usual amount of time in a slaughter house. My family raised beef cattle. I'm sorry to say this but I loved that slaughter house. For one thing it was freezing and when you live in Phoenix anywhere that's called freezing is also called heaven. It also had a fabulously salty, meaty, cold smell. Best of all, it had a massive, heavy, red gate-like back door that we entered from the back alley. I mean c'mon, how cool is that?
I also consider myself a farm girl so naturally I want to raise a turkey.

My turkey will not have a name. I will try my dangdist to kill it myself (with help, of course). The plucking may still be an issue.

17 comments:

Mahina said...

merilee, you're awesome! so, when are you getting this turkey?

Chelle said...

Maybe it could share the backyard with the dog, what do you think?

Why did I not know you great up on a cattle farm? No wonder we share a love of dirt!

You are pretty rad!

megan said...

I remember going to the slaughter house. I don't remember loving it. I remember seeing a huge bull upside down so all the blood would drip out. You make it sound like we had mob ties. I just have to say it: you are sick. I'm all for fresh turkey, but raising and killing it. You should volunteer to be a ma and pa on the trek then you can kill a chicken. I like that you finally posted! I still need to get that baked potato recipe from you

Bridget said...

THis is so interesting. I agree that Americans especially eat too much meat. I wish I were a vegetarian but I like chicken too much and I am not creative enough with vegetables. Please, please do a post about the slaughter house. I am fascinated. Have you read Upton Sinclair's The Jungle? Great book!

Aundrea said...

I totally agree with you. That being said, I'm not willing to go to the extremes you are.

I like to be completely ignorant about the animals I eat...If I make it too personal I just can't stomach it.

When my brothers raised steers for 4H I couldn't eat the roasts for Sunday dinner, it just seemsed...wrong:)

Stephanie said...

Jake had a summer job slaughtering chickens, and he loves to fill me in on all the gorey details. So if you need a hand with boiling, or plucking, or cutting, or any of the other steps of the butchering process, count him in!

Sheri said...

Ian killed a wild turkey once. It just sat in our freezer - we never ate it. As a kid, we raised chickens and I remember every once in a while having a chicken for dinner. It's hard when they're your pets.

I'm not much of a meat eater. I could survive on carbs and veggies. Although occasionally I crave steak.

Chelsea said...

I agree with Sheri. It's sad whey they are your pets. Our turkey, who followed us around as a pet, who was meant for Thanksgiving, was one of my greatest "friends." I loved him. And then a dog killed him. Sad... I still remember going to school crying. So don't get attached to the turkey!

And about this new living situation...we really should do burritos now! Cody may be traveling for sales stuff down to you, so I may have to tag along some time. So far it's been okay here. I am just down right cold all the stinkin time. I know I will adjust, but it's all this az blood in me! The rain hasn't been bad. We were used to it in Houston. But I loved your recommendation for good wind shield wipers. Ours are so warn out from lots of tx rain. This should all be a new adventure, that I am trying to love :)

Kim said...

Merilee, I love your posts.

brenda said...

Mike butchered animals growing up. I think you are absolutely right--we americans are so cavalier about eating meat and yet so stupidly- easily grossed out by anything messy. Duh--where do we think the nicely packaged, individually wrapped and flash-frozen chicken breasts come from? We should all have to go to "butcher camp" to learn what meat is. Which reminds me Mike's brother's stake took live chickens on their youth pioneer trek and butchered them there on the trail.

Krista Lou Cook said...

When it comes to plucking just ask D to come and help. We raised a few turkeys growing up.

Sarah said...

I agree with you about eating too much meat. I try to only eat meat 1-2 times per week. It's not hard and fast but I try not to eat too much of it.

Tomallama said...

Just so you know, in a blind taste test, Kentucky Red has the best taste of heritage breed turkeys. The judges also said they had the best table presence.

Emily said...

I've told people about that slaughter house! I think the back alley entrance was the best part. I was always pretty creeped out when I was inside there.

ducklips said...

I have to say that I loved going to the slaughter house/ butcher too, and for all the same reasons. I don't know if I'd say that we, as Americans eat too much meat. The whole world eats a lot of meat. Going to some of the butchers over seas is an eye opening experience. I think the difference is that we don't see what we are going to eat until it is nicely packaged in the meat dept in the grocery store. I also think we waste a lot, not that I'm willing to eat any beaks or feet. Raising your own turkey would definitely make you appreciate what you are eating.
I can't wait to see you take this on.

Janalee said...

so you plan on getting a baby turkey, raise it, kill it, pluck it, cook it, and eat it in 3 more days? Interesting.

Mandy said...

What!! I thought you were joking when I first started reading this post. Now that is some FRESH turkey! You fasinate me.