Tis The Season For Vegan Turkey

Billie Lee sits down with Buzzfeed to taste three major vegan turkey brands in preperation for Thanksgiving. Read more to hear which one she liked best!

When I think of Thanksgiving, I think of my grandma Kays cooking. We would all make our way through the snowy fields and windy country roads in hopes of a warm holiday feast. She would let me sip on her hot coffee, I remember how it made my chewing gum shrink. All the kids would be outside playing in the snow while I hung with the adults checking in on the turkey. I would set outside the oven window watching the turkey roast into a golden brown. The heat of the oven pouring out warming my cold little body. While at the dinner table grandma served ice cold coca-cola with her meal. The sugary bubbles went so well with our thanksgiving turkey, the white polo bear on the oh so coca-cola red can spread across the dinner table, it wasn’t a holiday feast without it.

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As I grew up, I started to ask more questions about these holiday traditions. Why do we eat turkey on thanksgiving? How do our turkeys get to our table? William Bradford once journaled the beginning of thanksgiving. He wrote how the colonists had hunted wild turkeys during the autumn of 1621. Though it’s rumored the first thanksgiving between pilgrim settlers at Plymouth colony and local Wampanoag Indians didn’t actually have turkey at their feast. It wasn’t until 1827 when writer Sarah Joseph Hale wrote in her very popular novel, Northwood, dedicating an entire chapter describing a New England Thanksgiving with a roasted turkey at the head of the table. As she was promoting her book she also campaigned for it to be a national holiday. Her written words and campaign eventually payed off when president Lincoln declared it a national holiday in 1863.

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Look at us now! The year is 2020 with over 7 billion of us and in the midst of a global pandemic. To think how different it is now getting a turkey. We don’t hunt for our turkeys, not like we did in the 1800’s. If you think about it, the only thing that’s the same is our tradition, so where do all of our turkeys come from now? I was shocked to learn worldwide 640 million turkeys are killed for food each year – 300 million killed right here in the US! That is a lot of turkeys! But where are these turkeys? I’ve done my fair share of road trips across the US but I can tell you I’ve never ever seen a turkey in person or on the side of the road. Wouldn’t they need sunlight? So where the fuck do our turkeys come from?

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 Y’all PETA came through with some scary ass facts. If you buy a turkey at your local super market it is most likely from a factory farm as 46 million turkeys consumed every year come from a factory farm. Those turkeys are hatched in incubators mostly on large farms across the mid and southern states. Baby turkeys have their upper beaks removed just a few days after being hashed. They remove the upper beak to keep the baby turkeys from eating what they wants, in a traditional environment turkeys are omnivores but in a factory farm they are bred, drugged, and genetically manipulated to grow as large as possible as quickly as possible to increase profits. In the mid 1900’s, the average turkey raised for meat weighed about 17 pounds. Today, they weigh around 30 pounds! Could you imagine that kind of life? How sad.

Did you know:

“Turkeys are intelligent animals who enjoy having their feathers stroked and who like listening to music, with which they’ll often loudly sing along. In nature, they can fly 55 miles an hour, run 35 miles an hour, and live up to 10 years.” -PETA

I’m not hear to ruin your tradition, all I ask is you go beyond your table and your holiday feast and ask yourself how does this meal impact my world? What you do with your hands and your mouth make the most impact on your environment starting with your own body. By choosing life (plants) over death you are literally saving our planet.

“Your choice on what you eat is the least but most impactful thing we can do to give back to our planet on a day of THANKS GIVING.” -Billie Lee

I recently collaborated with Buzzfeed to taste test the best vegan turkeys. My top three picks were Field Roast Celebration Roast, Gardein Holiday Roast and Tofurky Plant-Based Roast. All three so delicious in their own unique way.

Field Roast

The Field Roast had to be thawed in the fridge for 24 hours but smelled delicious fresh out of the packaging, its aroma reminded be of vegan jerky. It also came with a thick mushroom gravy.

Gardein’s Holiday Roast

Gardein’s Holiday Roast went in the oven frozen and came with a delicious crusty outer layer. It also came with a yummy turkey gravy that I unthawed using hot water.

Tofurky’s Plant-Based Roast

Tofurky’s Plant-Based Roast also needed unthawed for 24 hours prior to baking. It didn’t come with the gravy but still delicious.

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