The Perennial Plate is a cleverly named “online weekly documentary series dedicated to socially responsible and adventurous eating.”
Founded in February 2010 by Daniel Klein (a filmmaker and wouldbe chef with a serious culinary pedigree, including stints in Michelin star restaurants like The Fat Duck , St. John, Mugaritz, Bouchon, Applewood, and Craft) and Mirra Fine (a camera operator, graphic designer, and freelance writer), the program filmed its first 52 episodes in and around Minnesota, capturing the diverse farming, food cultivation, and cooking practices of the The North Star State and its neighbors (like mushroom hunting, Great Lakes fishing, and cheese making).
For their second year of weekly episodes, Klein and Fine took The Perennial Plate on a roadtrip across the United States to farm, hunt, cook, and eat with their “food heroes,” imbibing on everything from insects in Rhode Island to lobster pie in Maine. But before they started on their cross country adventure, the pair spent their last Thanksgiving in Wisconsin at Living the Dream Farm, where they selected a live turkey, cooed it into submission, and ran a very sharp knife along the bird’s neck to kill it before butchering the bird for their big holiday meal. They also caught the whole thing on camera.
It’s the second time Klein and Fine filmed the live slaughter of a Thanksgiving turkey. The first time was in the premiere episode of The Perennial Plate and inspired Fine to give up meat for good. After watching, it’s easy to see how the experience could have that effect.
You don’t have to pose naked for PETA in your spare time to have an emotional response to seeing the killing of an actually-cute-in-its-own-kinda-way animal to feed another. And whether or not you’re a herbivore or omnivore (or leaning towards the former after seeing the above), it’s good too see the process of how what you eat gets to your plate.
Personally, I’m not joining team vegetarian anytime soon, but watching the slaughter at LTD farms certainly gives me a greater appreciation for what I’m eating. And that’s definitely something to be thankful for. Happy holidays! And enjoy your Thanksgiving meals, whether they be comprised of turkey, tofurkey, or some kind of culinary monstrosity.