After reading an article on organic turkey, I opted to buy a locally raised heritage turkey. I learned that mainstream and even most organic poultry is “Barbie” birds; breeds raised to have large breasts and a lot of white meat to satisfy our demands.
The local farmer made a point of warning me that this bird would taste gamy to us. I was hesitant but decided to risk it anyway.
I prepared our Thanksgiving meal very simply – there is enough going on that I don’t need to fuss with complicated recipes! Plus I saw somewhere that brining turkey was more for covering up the nasty flavor of meat that had been frozen for months and this bird was very fresh. I found a recipe that called for stuffing with garlic, orange and lemon and putting olive oil on the skin. Simple and elegant enough for me. I am not sure it did any thing at all, but it made me feel I’d made an effort.
Two things surprised me. First, the farmer was wrong! There was nothing odd about the flavor of this turkey. It just tasted like, well, like turkey!
And the next surprise was even better! My Thanksgiving wasn’t a total let-down when I found myself asleep on the couch right after eating. I had been up since around 4am; got some kind of nervous insomnia worrying about all the dishes I had to make so worked in the kitchen for about 2 hours before going back to bed for 2 more hours and finally getting up for good to get to work so we could eat at a reasonable hour. After the feast, I was pretty dead on my feet. Even while preparing the meal, I had to keep referring to my menu plan to stay on track and check things off or write down times. I never have to do anything like that in the kitchen.
After eating, we went for a walk but I was fine! Really. I never needed to nap. Amazing! No triptophan in that bird!
I am so glad I opted for a Heritage Turkey that free-ranged and was delivered to my door by the farmer. This feels a step in the right direction!