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Happy Thanksgiving: Delayed Cranes and Pigs Edition

As longtime readers know, I like to focus my Thanksgiving gratitude on the Michigan farmers who provide the remarkable diversity of crops Mr. EW and I eat year round. Aside from olive oil and spices, you can source almost your entire Thanksgiving dinner from local Michigan farmers and I try to be intentional about who provides this meal. Among the providers who helped bring us dinner tonight, we thank:

  • Green Wagon Farm: Year-round greens, rutabegas, other veggies
  • Visser Farm: Spuds and carrots grown down the street from where I lived for a year
  • Hilhof Dairy: Truly exceptional dairy products
  • MOO-ville Creamery: Lots and lots of butter
  • Loves Ice Cream: Because my brother, who’s an ice cream addict, has joined us this year
  • Founders Mosaic Promise: Because the Lions game is going to suck especially bad this year
  • 2 Lads Winery: Yes, the wine comes from MI too
  • Pioneer Sugar: Even the commodity crops come from MI
  • The backyard: The Jerusalem artichokes (used in the stuffing) and herbs come from my own garden

Mr. EW and I have a special relationship with our meat farmers, Crane Dance Farm, two women who raise cows, pigs, lamb, chickens, and turkeys using humane principles. We’ve been buying our meat from them for years and gotten to be friends over that time.

Along with our meat, I get a sense of how the changing climate affects those farming the land from Jill and Mary.

This year, the cranes after which Jill named the farm, for example, came late, 20 days after the day they have arrived for decades. During that period Jill raised the missing birds every Saturday with a worried voice. They finally returned to the farm.

Then in the fall, the pork stopped, the delayed result of a significant drop-off in births much earlier in the year. Jill and Mary finally fattened enough pigs to slaughter just weeks before Thanksgiving (thankfully, given that my family tradition is cooking out turkey topped with bacon).

It’s not certain either of these things are due to the changing weather, though that’s a likely explanation. Meanwhile, Philadelphia had to pull the balloons from the Mummers parade on account of the high wind that, just days ago, ravaged the disappearing beaches here in Michigan.

I’m grateful for Michigan’s bounty. Unless we start doing something about the climate emergency, it may not be there very long.

Turkey, Geezers, Favre and Trash Talk

brett-favreWelp, here we are upon another Thanksgiving. All of us here at Emptywheel – Marcy, Jim White, Ed Walker and me [EW: Hey! You forgot Rayne!] – are thankful for your readership, commentary and friendship. Some of you are newer, some have been with us forever, but thanks to all of you.

Marcy did a wonderful Thanksgiving food post earlier this morning. Frankly, I might not have bothered with Trash since there was a great discussion going on there. But, today is momentous. It is Brett Favre Day baybee! That’s right old man geezer himself is getting honored in the late game from The Frozen Tundra of Lambeau. And no way that could slip by without some trash talking.

I am getting old now and, still, for my money, there has never been a more joyous and exciting free spirit to watch in the NFL. Yes, obviously, it helps that he played for the team I have rooted for since I was a child. But what a joy he was. At any given instant, Favre could do something incredible or catastrophic….you never knew! But you knew he would do something. And it was usually incredible in the good direction. And on any Sunday, he was always there. Always. Only eight quarterbacks in the history of the NFL have had streaks of a hundred games or more started in a row, and only two with 200 or more. Favre had 297. 321 if you count the playoffs. That is not just the most by a quarterback ever, it is the most by any positional player in NFL history. Until last year when Peyton starting overtaking him, Favre also held nearly every meaningful passing record too. A pretty fine career. He was unique, and he was awesome. Thanks for the memories Brett.

So the Packers host the Bears tonight, where the festivities for Favre will be featured. Rodgers got a bit of his mojo back last week against the Vikings, but I still wonder about his health. The Bears took a step back against the Broncos last weekend, but played tough. They may not be great, but this years’ Bears don’t suck. This should be a great game. And what better setting to end a Thanksgiving day on?

The Lions simply destroyed the Eagles earlier. Wow, where has this version of the Kittehs been all year? Apparently it took creaky old Martha Ford to kick their asses into gear. And the Panthers at Cowboys just started, and already the Panthers have scored on a pick six off of Tony Romo. That is not what the Cowboys needed at all.

So there it is, Happy Turkey Day folks. Eat large and enjoy. Music today is by a friend of mine from long ago from the Scottsdale blues club scene. She is beautiful, and man can she sing. Please give a listen to Janiva Magness, you won’t be sorry.

In Defense of Turkey

Big Media Matt and the Great Orange (Vegetarian) Satan are campaigning against turkeys. Their logic is:

  1. Butterballs suck
  2. Butterballs are turkeys
  3. Therefore turkeys suck

See the problem with their logic?

Lucky for me and my co-turkey mates, in Ann Arbor’s near environs there are now a number of farmers growing heritage turkeys–and at way cheaper prices than the heritage turkey I bought last year. These are, of course, turkeys that still taste like turkey, rather than saline-injected protein delivery systems.

And for those of you briners searching for an easier way to cook the perfect bird–and yes, even for Spencer, with his salivating over bacon-wrapped pork–the real trick is bacon.

Yes, bacon.

Just slap a pound of bacon on top. It’s the perfect way to slowly apply salt to the meat and it keeps the bird perfectly moist without basting. And by the time the Detroit Lions manage to lose another game, that bacon’s perfectly cooked for a mid-afternoon snack, just when it’s time to start browning the bird.

I’ll be preparing heritage turkey prepared in the proper bacon-lover’s manner, chestnut and sage bread stuffing, and pumpkin and apple pies. I’m hoping the co-turkey mates remember to make spuds, or the Irish husband will be cross. Also, my local wine purveyor recommended this new Turkish wine to go with the turkey, which I’m kind of looking forward to trying.

What are you all cooking for your Thanksgiving joy?