Seattle Mayor Pardons a Tofurky Named Braeburn, And It's as Strange as it Sounds


Of all the somewhat hokey political traditions we have in America, the Thanksgiving season has always brought along a particularly weird one — the official presidential pardoning of a turkey. Each and every year, the person widely regarded as the most powerful on the planet steps out onto the White House lawn, and announces that one lucky turkey won't be killed and eaten this holiday season, because he's being pardoned. Well, get this: Seattle Mayor Ed Murray pardoned a Tofurky named Braeburn on Friday, and yes, it's every bit as strange as it sounds.

Speaking from experience, if you're vegetarian or vegan, the ol' turkey pardon ritual strikes a somewhat strange, macabre note — why does the turkey need to be pardoned? What law did it break, and how bad must it have been for the punishment to be death, followed by a festival of devourment?

Well, if these are the sorts of profound questions that plague your enjoyment of the Thanksgiving season, maybe you ought to move to the Pacific Northwest, where at least one civic leader is celebrating the occasion in a different way. A photo of the enthusiastic, vegan-friendly pardoning ceremony was tweeted out by Murray Friday, along with a food drive challenge to the Seattle City Council — securing his place as a friend to the needy, as well as a friend to Tofurkys everywhere.

"I, Mayor Murray, pardon Braeburn the Tofurky." The words of a generation? Look, this is all good fun, but naming the Tofurky? That's what lends this story that particular kind of delightful, friendly liberal-city charm.

And as it turns out, the much-loved Braeburn wasn't even the only Tofurky who was feted by the mayor — Murray also made mention of a second Tofurky, a so-called understudy named Honeycrisp. Both of the honored Tofurkys (named after popular types of apples native to the state of Washington), according to Murray, will spend the rest of their "natural lives" at the Rainier Valley Food Bank, but hopefully that doesn't mean they'll just be sitting around.

After all, the great thing about Tofurky (which is underlying joke in all this) is that you don't need to worry about any ethical qualms to get some delicious holiday food — they're 100 percent vegan, and the holiday roasts take just a couple hours to get piping hot and delicious. In the interests of full disclosure, I don't eat meat, and the Tofurky roast has been a reliable staple of my holiday dining rituals for years. I can't recommend them highly enough.

So if they're indeed destined for a food bank, hopefully some people who could use some help will get a taste of Braeburn and Honeycrisp real soon. Sorry guys, hopefully you won't hold it against me.

Image: idealisms/Flickr