Sunday, November 9, 2008


Last weekend, my roommates and I held our annual Fakesgiving feast, which is our version of Thanksgiving, only with friends and in mid-October. Like last year, we decided to fry our bird in a turkey fryer with peanut oil. It only took 56 minutes, and the meat was tender and moist with a crisp outer skin.

Also new this year, I ordered the 18-pound bird locally, from a farmer I found through Green City Market’s website, which lists all the producers who have earned spots at the famous Chicago farmer’s market. When I picked up the turkey at Green City the Saturday before, Tim Ifft of TJ’s Pastured Free Range Poultry out of Piper City, about 60 miles downstate from Chicago, explained to me that our turkey was “processed” the Thursday before our Sunday feast at an Amish processing facility near Kankakee, Ill. The facility is USDA-certified and operates much like other modern operations do, only this one sports gas lights (as the Amish don’t use electricity) and the workers wear traditional dress. I learned the same facility processes poultry for many local farmers whose clients include fine restaurants in the Chicago area and beyond, such as Frontera Grill.

Understanding our turkey’s history and really considering its life and death which took place such a short time before we cooked and ate it, caused me pause. Cleaning the turkey before cooking it was a somewhat somber experience; I felt connected to my food like never before. Sourcing the turkey, meeting the farmer and learning the backstory of the centerpiece to our Fakesgiving feast was a great experience to be remembered and repeated in the coming years.

There was a lot to be thankful for at Fakesgiving this year, including lots of delicious dishes, flowing wine and great conversation. Best of all? No football…:)


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