One of the prized memories of my childhood was finding an unopened bag of M&Ms in a snowbank. Free candy! I was so in…
But, other than wild blueberry picking as a kid, my life has largely been foraging-free. My mushrooms come from the produce department, I wouldn’t eat roadkill if my life depended on it, and while I like the idea of fiddlehead ferns, I don’t think they taste all that great.
Sure, I love doggie bags and leftovers, but I tend to know where they came from. Ditto with my groceries.
But I know that there are urban foragers out there, picking dandelions out of sidewalk cracks or whatever it is that they do. And that there are freegans and/or poor folks who go dumpster diving behind grocery stores and restaurants, looking for whatever’s been thrown out that’s still edible.
A fellow up in Falmouth, Maine, took it one step further, coming upon what he must have thought was his lucky-day dumpster dive and making off with a truckload of free turkeys.
In a post on Facebook on Monday, police in Falmouth, Maine, cautioned that a man in a pickup truck plucked a large amount of foul fowl from the trash behind the Hannaford supermarket in town, after the birds went bad when a refrigerator unit at the store suffered from an apparent mechanical failure. He then allegedly gave some of the turkeys away, police said.
“Turkey Warning: (yes for real),” police wrote on Facebook. “Someone has actually removed these turkeys from the dumpster and thought it would be a great idea to redistribute them. It’s not a good idea, it’s a very bad idea. These turkeys were discarded because they were a hazard to consume. If anyone had acquired a bird from some non-conventional manner from someone you don’t know, discard and replace it.” (Source: Boston Globe)
Wonder if this guy stopped to ask himself why, a few days before Thanksgiving, Hannaford would be tossing out 75-80 turkeys if they were okay.
I know you can ignore plenty of those “best if used by” dates. That Progresso soup? You could probably crack open a can of C-rations from WWII and they’d still be edible. (That is, if you happen to like Spam.) And yogurts are good for another 10 days or so.
But we’re not talking something stamped with a meaningless expiration date here. We’re talking poultry. Which under the best of conditions is one big germ factory. Which is why we have special cutting boards devoted to chicken. And why we boil our hands after cutting raw meat.
Hannaford discarded these turkeys after they had “thawed and bloated” because of a fridge gone bad.
“Thawed and bloated.” Boy, does that ever sound appetizing.
The fellow who found the turkey trove was pretty proud of his find. He didn’t try to sell them. He just put a picture up on Facebook and invited his friends to come and get them. He’s not being charged with any crime – dumpster diving is not against the law – but Hannaford wants folks to know that these turkeys may not be safe to eat, even if you cook it in a 325 degree oven for 15 minutes per thawed and bloated pound.
Hannaford, by the way, like any other head’s up company, learned about the turkey giveaway via social media. They then called the police and asked for their help getting the word out. Which Falmouth PD, sworn to protect and serve (just not bad turkey), did.
So folks in the Falmouth, Maine, area are warned: if you got your bird from a guy in a pickup truck who found them out back of the Hannaford’s, it’s not to late to dump it and get yourself a Butterball with the weird little popup eye.
Meanwhile, this story reminded me of a famous family Thanksgiving when my Aunt Margaret served raw turkey.
My aunt didn’t cook turkey in her oven. She had a special turkey roaster – I think my mother had one as well – that was straight out of the 1940’s. Appliances from back in the day were still in good form 30+ years later, which is I think the approximate timing of the Great Raw Turkey Incident. Anyway, Margaret’s turkey roaster was on the fritz, and it was not cooked all the way through. My cousin Barbara’s boys were still young enough at the time to not do what the rest of us were doing, which was hide any bad slices of turkey under a pile of mashed turnip. Just young enough at the time for one of them to say in a quite loud voice, “Grammy, this turkey is raw!”
At which point, my cousin Barbara reached out with her famous claw of death, grabbed whichever kid had just pointed out that the turkey was raw, and hissed in his ear, “You’ll eat it!”
Death before hurting someone’s feelings!
Good luck to the Falmouth, Maine, freegans. I’m hoping that most of the bad turkeys were found. But I’m guessing that at at least one Thanksgiving table, some kid will be saying, “Grammy, this turkey smells funny!”