Guest editorial by Barney Cavanaugh, November 1988 Herald and News
Thanking a deity for a beneficial year by setting aside a special day has been going on since antiquity. In our country, it all started in the Plymouth Colony in the autumn of 1621. William Bradford issued a proclamation declaring a Thanksgiving Day for the bountiful harvest. He appointed a committee to come up with an acceptable menu for the various banquets.
A certain amount of dissension among the members became evident at the meeting. A Scotsman insisted that haggis would be the perfect entrée. Two Italians, who later opened a restaurant, extolled the virtues of pasta. The English members backed beef Wellington. An Irishman, who was a member of the group because he ran a pub where the local meal was scheduled, claimed that all that was needed was potatoes. Boiled, fried, baked au gratin, scalloped and sautéed in Irish whiskey for dessert.
A cannibal in the audience, visiting from New Guinea, said he had never eaten potatoes but wondered if any committee members had tried missionaries boiled with their jackets on. He was promptly ejected. Two Iroquois Indians swung the debate in their favor when they testified that wild turkey was low in fat, had no cholesterol and had fewer calories than any other proposal.
Three hundred and sixty-seven years later we are still stuck with turkey.
My personal opinion is that it is time for a change. Let’s switch to beef.
As a born-in-the-wool westerner, I feel we could turn the economic impact of Thanksgiving from the turkey-growing Midwest to our part of the country.
Last year, Americans consumed more than 80 million turkeys on this eventful day. Change that to beef and we are looking at 80 million cattle.
Livestock ranchers with this great opportunity would regain their financial status and be able to pay off most of their debts. No longer would we be forced to exist on turkey sandwiches, turkey hash and turkey soup for a week after Thanksgiving. Stuff the turkey—beef is best!
Remembering Barney Cavanaugh’s wit and humor this season.