I hadn’t planned to host anybody this Thanksgiving. Last count we had 6 different invites to various get-togethers of family and friends. Each and every one warmed my heart and assured me that nope, me cooking this year would not be required. So I haven’t set aside room in the budget for extra food shopping.
As it turns out TheMan’s Dad, my FIL is going to come over for a laid back get-together on Wednesday. It’ll just be our wee family and him. Will be nice and laid back before we drive down to GA to visit with my family and extended family on Thursday, Friday and Sat. I am blessed to have one of the most laid back FIL’s a person could wish for so I haven’t felt any pressure to do a bunch of special dishes. However, there is the matter of a turkey. What is a Thanksgiving celebration no matter how small without a turkey? A pretty sad affair indeed I answered my internal question. Everything is optional except the turkey.
In the narrow window of time that I had to go shopping last weekend I made my way back to the freezer section of the store in search of a small, preferably all natural bird. No such thing existed. First of all I don’t remember turkey’s being so…large…Or maybe I just haven’t paid attention. There are apparently no such things as small turkeys sold in grocery stores anymore. Having watched enough disturbing footage on how traditionally raised turkey’s are grown and having committed along with TheMan not to buy any antibiotic fed meats if it was avoidable I read label after label of brand after brand. I would have been happy with just “All natural, antibiotic free” I know that doesn’t mean much. The birds are probably grown in exactly the same way. It just makes me feel better. There I said it. Unfortunately there were no moderately priced “All Natural” Birds. There was however the “Certified Organic” behemoths.
The Organic Certification does not mean as much to me as it probably should. I know just barely enough of how the process works to know that on many occasions “Organically” raised animals have more restricted access to outdoors, sunlight and grass or natural foods than the “All Natural” one’s do. Depending on who is doing the Organic Certification, the specific criteria and how paranoid or efficient the farmer is it could result in several less than ideal scenarios. For example cow’s are not let out onto a pasture because it may or may not have been sprayed with weed killer in the past few years and they are instead kept in feedlot conditions being fed certified organic bi-product feed of corn and soy just like the regular feedlot cow’s are. The only difference being they have a much lower exposure to pesticides and certain restrictions regarding antibiotic and growth hormone usage.
So anyway, as I was saying, organic certification was not required for me to feel somewhat Ok about buying the bird. But that was all they had. There was no happy All Natural Middle Ground with the accompanying middle ground price tag. The regular turkey’s under one brand were for sale at $0.60 per lb. The Organic bird was $3.00 lb. Taking a deep breath I shuffled through the frozen and plastic encased carcasses digging around for the smallest one. As I stood on my tippy toes leaning deep into the open freezer a man working the Meat section of the store said in a confidential tone “Them there Organic birds is **** expensive” Brilliant observation on his part. As the huge chunk of frozen poultry loudly thumped to the bottom of my cart I smiled and said “Yes they are!” while surreptitiously trying to catch a glimpse of what the total was on my particular bird.
The price-tag loomed in front of me…
$42.45 (before tax)
It’s been a long time since I’ve directly asked TheMan about a food item purchase. We’ve worked out a budget and a budget is a budget and I’m free to spend within the budget. This though. This. Needed TheMan to approve. He was reasonable as always. “$3.00 lb. is less than we spend per lb. for our grass-fed beef. And you’ll make stock from the bones, right?” Right.Of course. He was right. Still. Whew.
The ginormous bird is lurking in the chest freezer out in the garage. Tomorrow I’ll haul it out and thaw it before sticking it in the cooler to brine overnight. We have in previous years fried our brined turkeys. I highly recommend it for flavor and tender, moist meat. This year though in an effort to be as low-key as possible the bird shall be baked post-brining. The **** expensive bird to paraphrase the helpful Meat-man.
But a bird we have and a Thanksgiving meal it will make. I am so grateful to be able to have the money to buy said expensive bird. To have so many family and friends who love us and want to spend time with us. To have a home that is so much more than simply a roof over our heads. To have a kitchen to cook in. To have a lap-top blaring my Christmas Channel on Pandora to keep me company while I work in the kitchen. To have my wee-family so close to me day in and day out.
In-case I do not make it back to the blog before TheDay may you and your families have a wonderful, peace and joy filled Holiday that is punctuated with great food, laughter and most of all Thankfulness.