This coming weekend is Thanksgiving weekend in Canada, with the day itself keeping the tradition of second Monday in October. Considered one of those occasions to bond with family, as with the U.S. version later in November, it hasn’t dovetailed into the latter’s four-day event also celebrating the shopping madness of ‘Black Friday’.
While these are longstanding festivities in both countries, with historical origins involving early explorers and settlers, this is looking at things only from the side of the consumer, i.e. the one enjoying the repast.
How much effort has been expended to consider things from the standpoint of the fully committed main attraction as provider, i.e. the turkey? Yes, there are many components in a special feast, but traditionally the appearance and carving of the cooked bird is a major anticipation.
From the point of view of the turkey, there’s not much to celebrate.
On top of this, there are numerous examples of dire treatment on the way to a diner’s plate. One of the most famous is depicted in a famous episode of the TV comedy WKRP in Cincinnati. The radio station manager’s promotion goes downhill dramatically after an authorized dropping of live turkeys from a helicopter, over a shopping mall, turns (predictably) badly. He delivers a line of tragically comic clarity: “As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly”.
In reality, wild turkeys can fly, at least for short hops. But this is insufficient for the vast majority raised for consumption purposes.
Meanwhile, how did turkeys get into this predicament originally? Probably the following have played a part:
- The desire of our ancestors to have a meal with a centrepiece, encouraging active participation by attendees
- The efficiency of having a large sourced meal for family meals and leftovers
- The comparative advantage of, for example, chickens being able to lay eggs consumable by humans
- The appeal of compatible side-dishes such as stuffing, gravy, and cranberry sauce
Clearly, this is a situation turkeys have not lucked into.
If they could somehow band together to do so, what might turkeys be able to do to turn the tide away from dominating the Thanksgiving dinner plate?
- Throw human concerns about sun-based skin maladies out to the wind by getting as much of a burn as possible
- Save sufficient funds for a bribe
- Promote more eating of snacks, to reduce the cooking of big dinners
- Develop on-line social media support
- Keep handy, malodorous scents to spray away interest
- Learn to camouflage, by looking like a dense bush on short notice
- Protest to parade organizers to have them feature other species
- Start eating candies and rich desserts to develop a less healthy profile
- Become a trusted advisor concerning animal related, purchase decisions on ‘Black Friday’
- Lead celebrations of goodwill to all, enjoyed with take-out foods substituting for big cooked meals
Let’s have another slice to salute the turkeys!