Tag Archives: Turkey

Arkansas fest drops 6 turkeys from plane, 1 dies

Six live turkeys were dropped from a small plane as part of a northwestern Arkansas community’s annual tradition, with one of the six apparently dying when it hit the ground.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that about 400 people attended the Turkey Trot festival in Yellville, which is about 90 miles north of Little Rock.

The turkeys initially dropped straight down for a while before most got their bearings and glided to a landing.

Festivalgoers took off after the birds trying to catch them.

Animal-welfare groups have condemned the tradition, which has been going on for about 50 years. However, no protesters were seen at this year’s event.

Turkeys can fly, but usually at less than 100 feet. They’re dropped from about 500 feet.

Sixty-six-year-old Barb Klug of Bull Shoals said she planned to serve the dead turkey for Thanksgiving dinner.

Consider the Source bring ‘Sci-Fi Middle Eastern Fusion’ to Wisconsin

Continue reading Consider the Source bring ‘Sci-Fi Middle Eastern Fusion’ to Wisconsin

6 wealthiest countries host less than 9 percent of world’s refugees

The six wealthiest countries host less than 9 percent of the world’s refugees, an Oxfam analysis shows.

Jordan, Turkey, Pakistan, Lebanon, South Africa and the Occupied Palestinian Territory host more than 50 percent of the world’s refugees and asylum seekers but account for under 2 percent of the world’s economy.

Collectively, the United States, China, Japan, Germany, France and the United Kingdom hosted 2.1 million refugees and asylum seekers last year — just 8.88 percent of the world total.

Germany recently welcomed far more refugees than the other richest nations, yet a major gap remains with poorer countries providing the vast majority of safe havens for refugees.

Ahead of two major summits about refugees and migrants in New York in September, Oxfam called on governments to host more people in need of safe havens and commit to do more to help the developing countries sheltering the majority of refugees.

“It is shameful so many governments are turning their backs on the suffering of millions of vulnerable people who have fled their homes and are often risking their lives to reach safety,” Winnie Byanyima, executive director of Oxfam International said. “Poorer countries are shouldering the duty of protecting refugees when it should be a shared responsibility, but many richer countries are doing next to nothing.”

“The international displacement we are seeing is an unprecedented and complex challenge requiring a coordinated global response,” she added. “The richest countries need to be part of the solution and do their fair share by welcoming and protecting more refugees.”

More than 65 million people have fled their homes because of conflict, persecution and violence; the highest level since records began.  A third of these people are refugees and asylum seekers, while the majority have been internally displaced.

The conflict in Syria has been a major factor, but people are also fleeing violence in South Sudan, Burundi, Iraq and Yemen and elsewhere.

This is happening as the mood for offering safe havens to people on the move is darkening. The recent deal between European governments and Turkey left thousands of people detained in Greece in often appalling conditions and legal limbo.

The Kenyan government, when announcing the closure of the Dadaab refugee camp, said that if Europe could turn away Syrians, Kenya could do the same for Somalis.

“Too many people who have taken treacherous journeys to reach safety end up living in degrading situations littered with abuse, hostility and discrimination and too few governments are doing anywhere near enough to help or protect them.”

On the Web

Oxfam’s petition 

Police in Istanbul use tear gas on gay activists

Police in Istanbul used tear gas and detained activists who gathered on June 26 to issue a statement to mark gay Pride week after authorities banned their rally in the city. At least 19 activists were rounded up, organizers said.

Dozens of activists assembled on Istanbul’s main pedestrian street to publicly read a statement marking the end of the LGBT Pride week and to denounce the ban. Several of them were detained however, before they could speak. Turkish police later used tear gas and rubber pellets to chase activists from side streets.

Istanbul’s governor banned both last week’s Trans Pride March and the broader LGBT Pride parade, citing security concerns in the city, which has been hit by deadly attacks by Islamic State militants or Kurdish rebels.

Turkish Islamist and ultra-nationalist groups had also threatened counter-demonstrations to stop the gay rights rallies.

Activists believe authorities are using security as an excuse to ban the gay parades. They say the government they should be taking measures to deal with the threats instead.

Two European legislators were also briefly detained Sunday, activists said. They included prominent Green Party lawmaker Volker Beck — an outspoken activist for gay rights — who was detained when he wanted to speak at the event in Istanbul.

The German news agency dpa quoted Beck as saying: “The police tore away my passport and pushed me around.”

Last week, Turkish police also used tear gas and rubber bullets to break up demonstrators who gathered for the transgender parade in defiance of the ban.

After falling from truck bound for slaughterhouse, two turkeys find loving new home in Antigo

Two turkeys were likely saved from the slaughterhouse last weekend when the crate they were crammed into fell from a truck, reports the Wausau Daily Herald.

The birds wisely made for the hills. Two Wausau police officers found the birds but were unable to capture them. Eventually, they contacted Wild Instincts, a Rhinelander wildlife rehabilitation group. Although the group normally takes only wild animals, two volunteers showed up to rescue the lost and traumatized fowl. 

The turkeys had physical deformities consistent with being caged in harsh conditions. They were identified as blue slate turkeys, which are listed as a critically endangered breed by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy.

The runaway birds are now recovering from leg injuries sustained during their escape at the Raptor Education Group, a wildlife rehabilitation operation in Antigo. The group’s executive director Marge Gibson told the Herald that they’ll join the other birds on her property, including Tori, her house turkey.

“Falling off a truck on the way to market has (pardon) written all over it,” Gibson said. “An accident that could have killed them (both actually) turned out to be the luckiest thing that could have happened to them.”

Tori posted a welcome to her new cousins — and fellow heritage turkeys — on her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ToriTurkey:

“Oh MAN … just what we needed two more turkeys in the household. I hope they know they will be OUTSIDE turkeys after they get better. … I am happy my family has big love in their heart, because I mean, I benefit too … BUT there are limits. Happy thanksgiving new turkeys! Thanksgiving at our house is WAY different than at other houses in America!! But you will be living outside … GOT IT?”

Poll: Donald Trump most likely candidate to spoil Thanksgiving

Donald Trump is the candidate most likely to spoil a Thanksgiving dinner agree 46 percent of Americans in the recent holiday-themed poll by Public Policy Polling.

His number is higher than all the other candidates combined — Democratic and Republican.

Hillary Clinton came in second at 22 percent, followed by Bernie Sanders at 7 percent, Jeb Bush and Ben Carson at 6 percent, Ted Cruz at 4 percent and Marco Rubio at 1 percent.

When asked about the candidate they’d most like to have Thanksgiving dinner with, Clinton was the favorite. About 24 percent would like to dine with Clinton. Carson was second at 18 percent, then Trump at 17 percent, Sanders at 11 percent, Cruz at 8 percent and Bush and Rubio at 6 percent.

In other questions, Republican voters are still annoyed with President Barack Obama’s decision to pardon two turkeys instead of the customary one turkey last Thanksgiving. PPP said, “That’s a pretty clear sign that if you put Obama’s name on something, GOP voters are going to oppose it pretty much no matter what.”

Democrats by a strong majority favored the double pardon.

The poll also revealed a partisan divide over Starbucks, in the news for a minimalist design — red – on seasonal coffee cups. Democrats have a positive view of the company and Republicans have a slightly negative view. Still, only 21 percent of Republicans think Starbucks has enlisted in a “War on Christmas.”

A majority of U.S. voters agreed that it is too early to hear Christmas music. Men more then women say it is too early.

PPP also found pumpkin pie wins the preferred dessert of choice at Thanksgiving dinner but with only 27 percent, followed by apple pie, sweet potato pie, chocolate pie, blueberry pie, then cherry pie.

Mashed potatoes, of course, are more popular than sweet potatoes and only 30 percent of those polled like marshmallows on sweet potatoes.

By a 17-point margin, Americans say it’s “stuffing,” not “dressing.”

Reflecting on Wisconsin’s earliest Thanksgivings

The story sounds familiar: In the 1600s, starving Europeans, new to the continent, were rescued with gifts of food from Native Americans, with whom they joined to give thanks.

Except this particular Thanksgiving story didn’t happen near Plymouth Rock. It happened in Wisconsin in 1659, just 38 years after the Pilgrims’ feast.

That’s one example of the rich Thanksgiving history held by the Badger State. Mary Spielman Roller, a resident of what became Milwaukee’s south side, even claimed to have introduced turkeys as the Thanksgiving bird in the state of Wisconsin, in 1835. She brought four birds from Buffalo, New York, when she settled in Milwaukee at the age of 18.

“Mrs. Roller assisted her husband in cutting down huge trees to use in building a log hut, and to make a clearing in the forest wherein to plant some grain and build a coop for the turkeys,” according to an early newspaper account. As the animals multiplied, “The Indians were constantly trying to steal them. Although not openly hostile, the Indians were apt to show anger when opposed by a woman.”

Of course, Roller could only claim she was the first to distribute turkeys to others for Thanksgiving — the bird is native to Wisconsin, and common. The Wisconsin State Journal recalled in 1930 that in Madison’s early days, turkeys “ran wild over the present university campus.” White settlers had great difficulty hunting them, however. Mark Twain later wrote of his own frustrating experience, “Hunting the Deceitful Turkey.” 

Roller’s daughter recalled that Native Americans were invited to her mother’s first Wisconsin Thanksgiving. They “came in their native costumes, adding a touch of bright color to the monotony that pioneer decoration has always assumed.”

Native Americans here already had their own thanksgiving ceremonies. The Ojibwe celebrated in early spring, however, as a “first fruits of the season” event. Any food caught, collected or harvested had to be first offered to what white settlers called their “Great Spirit.”

As a federal holiday, Thanksgiving is fairly recent. Far from a banquet, in 1863 President Abraham Lincoln set aside Aug. 30 as “a national day of humiliation, fasting and prayer.” The Civil War still raged and the occasion was decidedly spiritual, “so that the united cry of the nation will be heard on high.” It continued as a semi-religious observance for decades. 

Wisconsin’s first official observance of Thanksgiving was in 1830, when it was still part of the Michigan Territory. Gov. Lewis Cass declared that a day of Thanksgiving be observed on Nov. 25.

“I recommend to the inhabitants of the Territory that, refraining from all labor, inconsistent with the duties and solemnity of the day, they repair to their respective houses of public worship,” he proclaimed, “and unite in suitable acknowledgements to the ‘Giver of every good gift.’”

As late as 1876, the State Journal reported that much of the day was spent in church, although dining also was celebrated. In Madison, former Gov. Cadwallader Washburn and other nabobs ate in hotels. “There was good skating on Monona Bay, which was well enjoyed by a large number of youth.” Evening brought a fireman’s ball and several plays — one of them starring a young man soon to be known as “Fighting Bob” LaFollette.

Wisconsin achieved statehood in 1848 and the holiday afterward roamed the calendar; the present national date wasn’t fixed until 1939. In 1844, Gov. James Duane Doty even named Dec. 12 as Thanksgiving.

But Wisconsin’s earliest-recorded meal of thanksgiving was that celebration in 1659. Pierre Esprit Radisson and Médard Chouart Sieur des Groseilliers, the first French explorers to enter the state after Jean Nicollet ran out of provisions during a hard winter in what is today Bayfield County.

They ate their dogs. They backtracked to their previous camps and dug the refuse of past meals from snowbanks. They boiled guts, skin and sinew and consumed it. They crushed and ate powdered bones. Some of the hair from hides was burned for fire, “the rest goes downe our throats, eating heartily these things most abhorred,” Radisson wrote later. “We went so eagerly for it that our gums did bleede like one newly wounded.”

They started to eat wood.

“Finaly we became the very Image of death. We mistook ourselves very often, taking the living for the dead and ye dead for the living,” he wrote.

They were rescued by the Odawa (Ottowa), who fed them wild rice, turkey and other foods. Groseillers gave a speech of thanksgiving. The pair were later reclothed and underwent a series of Odawa ceremonies they did not understand.

“After this,” wrote Groseillers, “they weeped upon our heads until we weare wetted by their tears.”

And so it was, just a few decades after Plymouth Rock, that Thanksgiving came to Wisconsin.

U.S. diplomat in Istanbul will wed Turkish boyfriend in Appleton over holidays

Charles F. Hunter, the U.S. Consul General in Istanbul, will marry his Turkish boyfriend during a trip home to Wisconsin over the holidays, according to Daily Sabah, an English-language publication in Turkey.

Hunter, an Appleton native, confirmed to reporters that he intends to wed Turkish artist Ramadan Çaysever, a synth-pop musician, sometime after the couple arrives in Wisconsin tomorrow for the Christmas holidays. Specific plans have not been announced.

Çaysever frequently accompanies Hunter at consul events, and Daily Sabah reported that Hunter has asked for a bodyguard since his fiancée moved in with him. Turkish publications say the Muslim Çaysever has converted to Christianity.

Although the couple apparently intends to marry in Appleton, where same-sex marriage is legal, they will return to Turkey, where it’s not.

A career diplomat, Hunter was named principal officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul in September 2013 after receiving Turkish language training, according to a government website. Hunter’s most recent previous assignments were as public affairs officer at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq (2011–12) and in Damascus as deputy chief of mission and chargé d’affaires of the U.S. Embassy to Syria (2009–11). 

He received a B.A. in French from Lawrence University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in French and Humanities from Stanford University.

Chef Tory Miller: Cook authentically this Thanksgiving

Madison chef Tory Miller plans Thanksgiving dinner around the same main dish as most families — the turkey.

But the James Beard winner, who owns the Madison restaurants L’Etoile, Graze and Sujeo, a pan-Asian eatery that opened last summer, raises the bar on his holiday feast, preparing birds that are worth their calories. He says Thanksgiving provides a unique opportunity for chefs of all capabilities to step up their game.

“Thanksgiving dinner offers a near-perfect balance of culinary elements, from sweet to salty, from the richness of gravies to the tartness of Wisconsin cranberries,” Miller says.

Given his “slow food” and locavore ethos, Miller uses tricks and techniques that might be a little different from what we attempt at home. Take, for example, the bird itself.

“I try and pick a turkey from a grower I know,” Miller says. “Buying direct from the farm will cost you more, but it supports local agriculture and can introduce your family to new flavors.”

Heritage turkeys, now available online from growers statewide, were once on the verge of irrelevance, thanks to the ubiquity of Butterball and other supermarket birds.

During the 1990s, industrially raised Broadbreasted Whites replaced flavorful heritage breeds with a turkey that is factory bred under shockingly inhumane conditions. Broadbreasted Whites are so named because they have chests so disproportionately large that they often can’t stand, walk or mate. They’re artificially inseminated, and the chicks are raised in incubators after having their claws and upper beaks clipped so they can’t injure each other in the cramped, filthy cages where they spend their lives.

Fed with a diet heavy on corn to fatten them up, the birds are disease-prone due to their living conditions and are fed large quantities of antibiotics to keep them alive. The twin diets continue through the turkey’s abnormally fast 12-week growth cycle, after which they are shipped to the slaughterhouse for processing.

Heritage turkeys are raised naturally. While not as meaty in the breast, the birds make up for their lack of girth with richer and more varied flavors. In order to be considered a heritage breed, a turkey must be raised outdoors, mate naturally and enjoy a lifespan typical to that of a normal turkey.

The American Poultry Association currently lists about a dozen varieties that meet their exacting standards, including the standard Bronze, Beltsville Small White, Black, Bourbon Red, Narragansett, Royal Palm, Slate and White Holland breeds.

In Wisconsin, local farmers favor the American Bronze, one of the most flavorful varieties of heritage turkeys. They remind us why Thanksgiving was once such a highly anticipated holiday.

In addition to choosing a healthy and flavorful turkey, Miller marinates his birds for 48 hours prior to preparation. For a 15- or 20-pound bird, he prepares a water bath seasoned with two cups of kosher salt and one cup of sugar, along with coriander, allspice cloves and other herbs and spices.

Miller cooks the brine for 15 to 20 minutes and then cuts it with ice. The goal is to rapidly cool the brine and increase its volume to at least the gallon necessary to cover the turkey. Once set, the bird absorbs the solution, augmenting the natural juices.

On Thanksgiving Day, Miller removes the bird from the brine and dries it thoroughly. Turning his oven to its highest temperature, he cooks the bird for 30 minutes, searing the outside to keep the moisture and flavors in the meat. 

Miller then reduces the temperature to 325 degrees and cooks the turkey for another hour. Since the bird expels some juices, the chef lets it rest for 30 minutes prior to serving.

A dressing of breadcrumbs, wild mushrooms, turkey livers, pork sausage and aromatic vegetables completes the entrée.

Some of Miller’s favorite Thanksgiving side dishes are white wine-braised Brussels sprouts, hickory nut-topped sweet potato casserole and gastrique of currants (rather than cranberries), which together complete a feast of unparalleled flavors.

Tory Miller’s Restaurants


1 S. Pinckney St., Madison 


Madison’s original locavore dining experience, L’Etoile this year adopted a multi-course, prix fixe menu as a way to better highlight local foods and creative presentations. A three-course dinner is $65, with accompanying wines priced at $45. The seven-course dinner is $125, with wine selection at $65.


1 S. Pinckney St., Madison


Located across the hall from L’Etoile, Graze honors New York’s gastropub scene, elevating pub fare while keeping its sister restaurant’s local focus. Graze is the home of the $21 Graze Burger, stacking bacon, sirloin, ribeye, short ribs and caramelized onions between a brioche bun with Worcestershire-cabernet jus and Emmental compound butter.


10 N. Livingston St., Madison


Tory Miller honors his Korean heritage in this pan-Asian restaurant and noodle bar located in the street-level suite of the new 12-story Constellation apartment building. The menu includes Korean Ssam, a dish of lettuce-wrapped meats.


Dutch lesbians raising Turkish boy go into hiding

A Dutch lesbian couple have gone into hiding with their foster son after the boy’s biological parents said on television in Turkey that they object to the pair taking care of their child.

The matter is threatening to overshadow an official visit by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the Netherlands next week. Lodewijk Asscher, the Dutch vice prime minister, told reporters that the issue is an internal Dutch matter and that political interference from Turkey is “inappropriate.”

The 9-year-old boy identified by his first name, Yunus, was removed from his biological parents’ care – in the Netherlands – while he was still a baby, and eventually placed in the care of the lesbian couple, who live in The Hague.

His biological mother, Nurgul Azeroglu, appeared on a Turkish television program earlier this month and called on Erdogan to intervene in the case. She acknowledged having accidentally dropped the child from a poorly fastened carrying bag once – apparently part of the reason he was removed from her care.

Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad reported that two other children were also to be taken away from the family in 2008, but they then traveled to Turkey to prevent that from happening.

Prominent Turkish politicians have recently spoken out against children of Turkish ancestry being raised by Christians, gays, or others whose values are rejected by their biological parents.

Asscher praised the foster parents for taking on a “child in danger” and defended Dutch social service policies.

“The selection of a foster family in the Netherlands is a careful process,” he said. “We don’t choose foster parents on the basis of race or heritage, but on whether a child is in good hands with them.”

Child social services in The Hague said there was no specific threat against Yunus or his foster parents, but he has been kept home from school as a precaution since the interview aired.

The Hague Youth Services Agency has decided it is better for Yunus and his foster parents “to stay at another address for a time, partly in connection with the visit of the prime minister next week,” spokeswoman Tanja van Dijk said in a telephone interview with national broadcaster NOS. “For safety, and also because of the quiet that both Yunus and his foster parents of course now need.”

Asscher, who repeated several times at his weekly news conference that Yunus had been “in danger” before he was taken into foster care, said it is “exceptionally sad” that the boy and his foster family are now in hiding.

“It’s not right. People who are willing to take care of somebody else’s child deserve our admiration,” he said.