Thursday, November 23, 2006

Soulful Turkey *or* Fowl Soul

The cover text reads:

American Beauty
Why Turkey is the most soulful bird--plus four fine ways to cook it.

Webster's definition of Soulful:
Function: adjective: full of or expressing feeling or emotion <soulful music>

taken, the magazine is describing the dead animal pictured here as full of feeling, emotion, and expression. Tied up, no less. One can almost see the animal jamming with Charlie "Bird" Parker, missing head and all.

What we as consumers infer, however, or translate silently, is the true meaning - that this dead creature, at the center of our tables, creates a deep sense of love and connectedness.

Whether or not that love and connection is at the expense of another being has seldom been a conscious issue for the majority of the population. Historically we need only point to the pioneers we are celebrating and their treatment of the Native Americans and subsequent further establishment of slavery.

In recent times, there are still obvious examples such as war and social injustices, but one may also simply look at our own pattern of buying the cheapest products (Walmart) even though there may be a direct negative impact on others: closure of family-owned businesses, abuse of cheap laborers, unfair labor practices, etc. However – I am not trying to debate the merits or demerits of Walmart. This is merely a modern illustration of our choices as consumers, and how we make choices that benefit us at another’s expense.

Despite their obvious similarity to humans (see my sadly doctored Photoshop picture below of the soulful baby) most of us fail to truly extend our circle of compassion to include species outside our own. The picture, above, illustrates to me the deep disconnect we have as a species with other beings we share the planet with. The turkey’s life was neither soulful nor joyous.

I must insert here, however, the words of a very wise barista in Seattle when asked by her family why she doesn’t eat animals (paraphrased). Most people are compassionate at heart and do not wish pain upon other beings. For the majority of us, if we truly realized and accepted the suffering the animals endured, away from our sight, we might look at the plateful of animal before us differently.

Free Range products are a direct response to the marjority of individuals natural discomfort with creating suffering due to their desire to eat anything they wish to eat. Unfortunately, free range is not fulfilling its promise. Investigative footage is here as well.

For those who may say -
But I can't be vegetarian, let alone one of you crazy vegan types! (said with the accent of Jethro from Green Acres)
check out the philosophy of reducing consumption.

The debeaked turkey picture below is courtesy of Farm Sanctuary:
Most people don't envision physical mutilations as part of their "natural," "free-range" or "organic" turkey. But mutilations, from debeaking to toe removal, are still performed at "free-range" farms.

The bound feet also bring an interesting undercurrent to the conversation.


So - what to eat, if not a soulful turkey? A souless turkey? Free-range Tofurky?

Nah. Here are some things I make:
    Veggie Pot Pie. Stuffing. Mashed potatoes and gravy. Apple pie. Pumpkin pie.
Today I'm fixing creamy mushroom lasagne and soy white Russian Teacakes.

Check out this creative woman's
blog for recipes.

The magazine with the headless turkey picture is courtesy of Binge Cafe's good friend Lynn. She took at Whole Foods under threat of severe persecution, apparently, as pictures are not allowed in Whole Foods, according to one stiff-lipped bearded man who stopped her post-picture. Luckily he did not ask her to hand over her memory chip, and she was able to keep the controversial photo.

No comments: