Dukakis Turkey Soup a la North-South Rail Link

TransitMatters, one of the leading transit advocacy groups in Boston, brought former Massachusetts governor Michael Dukakis to its regular Beer and Transit event in October. There was a live stream and I thought the video would be up.

Anyways, Gov. Dukakis talked about the North-South Rail Link. He and his successor as governor, William Weld, reignited the debate with an editorial in The Boston Globe in August. The governors argued persuasively that the NSRL, while expensive, would both save money in the long run and provide a great deal of added value.

Upfront, the NSRL would save billions of dollars on the expansions of North and South Stations that are currently in planning — and any future expansions when they reach capacity again. The link would also improve commuter rail service, allowing trains to run through from the North Shore to the South Shore, increasing their capacity and flexibility, as well as patching up the network. It would also allow the MBTA to use its existing infrastructure more efficiently and (fingers crossed) jump start electrifying the network.

But Dukakis was also in The Globe recently because he always saves Thanksgiving turkey carcasses (and collects those of friends and now, Globe readers) to make turkey soup. He boils it with an onion, simmers it for at least three hours and adds rice and other vegetables.

“Throwing out a turkey carcass is sinful. Absolutely sinful,” Dukakis told The Globe.

Well, I think that not doing the North-South Rail Link is absolutely sinful, so I brought my family’s turkey carcass home with me and made turkey soup following Gov. Dukakis’ recipe and adding ingredients to represent the NSRL.


I started out with the big carcass in a small pot, added water, salt and pepper and started heating.


Then my roommate found a bigger pot and I transferred the carcass to it, added more water and started chopping the onion.


An onion being chopped. Nothing too fancy.


Boiling the carcass.


Once it boiled, I left it to simmer for three hours. The meat just melted off the bones. I’ve never made soup before, but I might never throw away bones again without boiling the meat off.


Based on the suggestion of Joseph Aiello (not the head of the MBTA Financial Oversight Committee, but an NSRL guy), I got red, green and orantge peppers to represent the Red, Orange and Green Lines that will be united by the NRSL.


Adding the peppers. What a beautiful color.


Rice, per the governor’s recipe.


Potatoes can come from Maine. I don’t think mine did, but some do. Amtrak’s Downeaster service goes from North Station to Portland. The NSRL would make it possible to extend Acela to Portland, and allow Mainers coming to Boston on business to make easier connections to MBTA rapid transit lines.


Rhode Island grows a lot of tomatoes. Mine came from a Trader Joe’s I walked to on Monday.


If only building the North-South Rail Link could be as easy as making my North-South Rail Link soup!


It was even better than I thought it would be.

Interestingly, some urbanists are turning to foodies for inspiration. I seem to have become a foody looking for inspiration from urbanists.


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