I was reading Ezra Klein's blog, and came across an item railing against the concumption of meat in general and turkeys in particular:
Imagine an America in which consumption of meat required viewing a quick video of the animal's slaughter. That's a world in which PETA is funded like the AARP. It's not that people don't intellectually understand that meat comes from dead animals, but if they had to face the fact, industrial farming operations would probably die off in a day. We have sufficient abundance that a fair number of folks would happily substitute other food sources than be confronted with the reality of a chicken breast. But we don't live in that world. So every year we happily watch the president pardon a turkey. That Palin pardoned a turkey while its cousins were slaughtered in the killing cones behind her is the single most honest thing she's done since arriving on the national stage.
Then I scrolled down and read the very next item. It's a primer on how to cook turkey!
Brining is certainly a player here, as are rubs, smaller turkeys, and aromatics. But we need to be bolder.
As Mark Bittman says, part of the problem with Thanksgiving turkey is that we insist on cooking it whole. This is a big bird. By the time the thickest, most protected meat is cooked through, Much of the rest has the pleasing texture of dirt cake. It's true that a series of labor and time intensive techniques (like brining) can mildly counteract that, but you can only take it so far.
Bittman argues for a different approach. We have a technique for transforming tough, dry cuts of meat into meltingly tender meals. It's called braising. But most of us can't see our way to braising a whole turkey. So don't. Cut the thing up. Then cook it with sausage and vegetables at a low temperature in a steaming broth.
Let me reiterate: these items were right next to each other. What am I missing here?
Update: Ezra Klein, who takes this very seriously, writes:
"I buy humanely raised meat, arguing that brutality is essentially an economic externality that's not priced into food, and advocate frequently and publicly that others do the same (or, at the least, that we cease subsidizing CAFOs). I have not advocated that people become vegetarians, nor argued that killing animals is wrong."