December 2, 2011

Poultry Slam 2011

We bring you our sort-of-annual holiday tradition: The Poultry Slam! Stories of what happens when humans and fowl collide, including the tale of one notorious turkey who unleashed a long reign of terror on an unsuspecting neighborhood.

Illustration by Seniel Seward, from the Vineyard Gazette.


Ira Glass talks with Scharlette Holdman, who works with defense teams on high profile death row cases, and who has not talked to a reporter in more than 25 years. Why did she suddenly end the moratorium on press? Because her story is about something important: Namely, a beautiful chicken. (2 1/2 minutes)
Act One

Witness for the Barbecue-tion

Scharlette Holdman's story continues, in which she and the rest of a legal defense team try to save a man on death row by finding a star witness — a chicken with a specific skill. (10 1/2 minutes)
Act Two

Murder Most Fowl

The number of wild turkeys in the United States has risen from 30,000 at the beginning of the 20th century to an estimated seven million today. And it's common for them to get aggressive with people. But the average turkey doesn't come close to the reign of terror unleashed by one particular turkey, named Tom, on Martha's Vinyard in 2008. Sam Bungey tells the story. (15 minutes)
Act Three

Latin Liver

In order to make foie gras — goose liver — the birds have to be treated inhumanely, strapped down and force-fed huge amounts of food. So when a chef named Dan Barber heard about Eduardo Sousa, a Spaniard who had supposedly found a way to make foie gras without mistreating the animals, Dan didn't believe it ... until he went to Spain to investigate. Dan runs the New York restaurant Blue Hill. (20 minutes)