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November 26, 2014

All about that baste (1)

From Now I Know

Turkey Basters

About 60 hours from now, give or take, most Americans will be eating something involving turkey. For reasons which probably have little to do with the Pilgrims, turkey has become a central part in the American Thanksgiving tradition. And like many other things, when it comes to turkey, more is better. So if you're in the business of raising turkeys for sale at the grocery store, you're also in the business of making bigger, meatier birds.

Which also means you have to artificially inseminate them. Probably. [...]

But bigger turkeys created a problem. Dubner quoted Julie Long, a research physiologist for the United States Department of Agriculture who focuses on the poultry sector. Turkeys, Long noted, have been bred to be so large that they can't sustain themselves as a species. Or, as long put it, "the modern turkey has quite large turkey breasts, and it actually physically gets in the way when the male and the female try to create offspring." So for these birds, "the birds and the bees" no longer works.

So, breeders have to step in. Long euphemistically described the process to Dubner: "Once a week, five to six months, you have to go work with the males and then go work with the females in order to produce the meat that goes out for the consumer." Dubner further estimated that nearly 100% of commercially sold turkeys are created via this process. So if you eat turkey on Thanksgiving, almost certainly, the outcome of the work described by Long ends up on your plate, next to cranberry sauce.

Posted by joke du jour at November 26, 2014 06:02 PM

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