My dining table on Thanksgiving doesn’t boast a roasted turkey – it’s my choice. Instead, plates brim with Southern cornbread dressing, homemade green bean casserole, roasted veggies like Brussels’ sprouts or cauliflower, maybe a winter squash turned into a gleaming white dish. Homemade vegan gravy, maybe mashed potatoes sans butter and cream – and this year, heart-healthy mac ‘n cheese will grace the space where sweet potato casserole sat last year. And dessert, oh yeah, lots of pumpkin brandy mousse cake or pecan (‘peh-kahn’ – NOT ‘pee-can’) pie.
Yet, Thanksgiving historically holds a sacred space for the bird. Close your eyes and go back in time. Can you just see the man-of-the-house with that extra huge carving knife in his hands (think Norman Rockwell), deftly and neatly placing juicy slices of white meat on the platter? It’s an art. It takes skill. And since he only practices once a year, it takes years to get good at it.
What if this year, the bird the Universe shares with you was raised and processed humanely? Free-range, living its entire life in one place, no antibiotics or hormones because the wide-open world is its home. This home is not filled with deathly ammonia and harmful bacteria but loving humans. And, your heritage or free-range bird is higher in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids and lower in pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids than those living on grain in over-crowded houses.
It’s crazy to think that the heritage bird takes 25-28 weeks to mature while that hot-house turkey goes to slaughter in 14-18 weeks. Being bred for it’s breast, it’s so top-heavy it teeters when it walks. Now, a caveat – be prepared, this heritage bird will taste a whole lot more like turkey, not bland like those grown for white meat. Because of this bred-in blandness, traditional factory-farmed birds are injected with salt water, oil and other additives to enhance their taste.
There may still be time to place your order! How Awe-some to choose your turkey this year for 2012!