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La Grande Observer Daily Paper 09/17/14

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Home arrow Opinion arrow Jeff Petersen: ON SECOND THOUGHT arrow Celebrate Elk Day

Celebrate Elk Day

Thanksgiving is a great celebration of American rights, freedoms and the end of the negative political ad season on TV.

Hey, we do have a lot to be thankful for this year.

If we can afford the Thanksgiving feast, that is.

Food prices are rising. Blueberries and shredded wheat, for example, staples of my bachelor diet, both recently rose 20 percent.

I worry that Thanksgiving staples will also shoot up in price for the big holiday.

In this time of pay freezes and furloughs, layoffs and government incentives for banks to not loan money to eager would-be home buyers, price rises at the grocery store hurt. They give us the fiscal version of acid reflux. We feel an uncomfortable burning sensation in our wallets.

To save money this year, if you are a successful hunter anyway, serve elk, not turkey. Call it Elk Day, not Turkey Day.

I’d serve elk at Thanksgiving. The problem is, I don’t hunt. And my hunter friends who claim to be such great shots most years can’t seem to synchronize their schedule to rendezvous with an elk.

Go to the mountains any time but hunting season. Elk abound. It looks like springtime on the savannah.

During hunting season, though, elk play hide and seek.

Elk Day could become a Northeast Oregon tradition. The only problem is, for a lot of residents, elk is a year-round staple of the diet. Turkey is reserved for special occasions, like when a gun is being held to your head.

A little known fact is that elk is an even better way than turkey to get your Thanksgiving guests to fall asleep soon after the feast.

Of course, if you have the National Football League game on TV, they will probably already be fast asleep and you won’t have to serve them any food.

Now there are some true savings.

The National Football League seems nearly as predictable as the politicians in Washington, D.C. — and even less entertaining.

Imagine, then, if NFL teams were like politicians and ran negative ads hammering their opponents. The ads might go something like this:

“Chicago Bears: They got the same mascot as Russia.”

Or, “Seattle Seahawks: They play football about as well as Michael Dukakis drives tanks.”

It’s a little known fact that elk has 50 percent more tryptophan, the chemical that induces sleep, than turkey.

Actually, post-meal drowsiness has more to do with the average American at Thanksgiving consuming enough carbohydrates to feed a third-world country for a month.

The whole chemical process starts with insulin. If my crack research team headed by Mattie the calico cat has it right, insulin responds to food consumption by turning tryptophan into feel-good serotonin and then into sleep-promoting melatonin.

It’s like suddenly turning daylight into darkness. Of course, that happens on Thanksgiving anyway, when the days are growing shorter and the Dallas Cowboys are embarrassing themselves on national TV.

Some anti-hunters would prefer that we celebrated Veggie Day.

But in Northeast Oregon, with its love of hunting, Elk Day seems like a better fit. Elk is low in fat and cholesterol — and has no growth hormones or chemicals.

Elk is a miracle food. If any of my sharpshooting friends stay awake long enough to bring home an elk steak, it would be a miracle.

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