Talking Turkey, Take Two

No new turkey photos – they ran through the yard so fast yesterday I didn’t get the shot.

Might have had something to do with the blonde dog chasing them…

So, back to Turkey Day Prep, the Grocery Store Episode.

I don’t know for sure what it is about Thanksgiving that turns normal people into snarling demons, but spend a few minutes in a crowd of them in a grocery store (Or worse, an entire day) and you’ll see what I mean. I suspect it has something to do with the (self-imposed) pressure to create a perfect, Rockwellian holiday…or worrying that Uncle George will once again create a scene at the dinner table. What I do know, is that a month later, on Christmas Eve, they’re much more relaxed and happy…

So, what’s my point?

If you don’t need to be in the store on the Wednesday before, don’t go. Plan your shopping for Sunday or Monday, and only go back if you forgot something. You can pick up the bird then – yes, even a fresh* one – and store it in your fridge. Just be sure to put it in a pan. It will leak.  Buying a frozen turkey that far ahead insures that it will be completely thawed in time to cook, and there’s nothing wrong with letting a thawed turkey stay in the fridge for a day or two.

I wish I had a dollar for every customer who grabbed a frozen bird on Wednesday afternoon and said, “This will thaw by tomorrow, right?”


And then, there’s this:

Customer: “Miss! I ordered a fresh turkey! The one you gave me is frozen!”

Me, smiling weakly: “No, Ma’am. That’s a fresh one. The top feels frozen because of the holding temperature…”

Welcome to the wonderful world of Poultry Labels, where ‘fresh’ means ‘chilled and held at 32F,’ and ‘frozen’ means blast-chilled and held at 0F.

It’s ok. It makes no sense to us, either. For a list of other label double-speak, take a look at this post from 2009.

Now, I have a request, on behalf of everyone who ever had to put in a twelve-hour shift, and get up the next morning to cook a holiday meal for their own family: Look around your store on the day you do your shopping. When you see a harried staff member – the cashier who just got yelled at for the second time in ten minutes, the produce boy who can’t fill the potato and onion bins fast enough to keep up, or the meat clerk trying to read an order written by the 75-year-old butcher with Parkinson’s – smile at them, and wish them a Happy Thanksgiving.

You’ll make their load just a little lighter…


24 thoughts on “Talking Turkey, Take Two

  1. I don’t even like to grocery shop on Saturday unless I have to. Going on the day before a major holiday like Thanksgiving, for me, is extremely rare. Being that I no longer work, I try to clear out and let those who do work have the stores to themselves. And you’re right. A smile, “Please,” and a ‘Thank You” can make a difference.

  2. I´m feeling stressed for you all just reading this! Before I left the UK I remember some of the larger supermarkets opening 24 hours a day for about a week in the lead up to Christmas, so you could go shopping at 4am if you fancied it. At least you get two goes at the family meal and get together – twice the fun!

    • Strangley enough, 24-hour grocery stores were all the rage here a decade or so back…it makes sense in a town where there are lots of shift workers on overnights, like with a factory, but not in sleepy little towns like ours! That seems to have stopped for now…
      And yes – two big family meals equals twice the fun!

  3. Reading this makes me happy that we go to Sue’s for Thanksgiving. We (Mother and I) take a cranberry salad and a chocolate pie. We bring some goodies home, too. It’s a nice day for all.

    • I think I’m going to declare the Wednesday before Thanksgiving “Be Nice To Your Grocer Day”…
      I’m glad you and Nana can enjoy the day with Aunt Sue and the rest of the family down thata-way – and, we’ll be making your chocolate pie, too!

  4. Being a house wife, I shop during less busy hours (usually). Going shopping on a Saturday makes my eye twitch.

    It’s funny how a holiday season, based on Thankfulness, kindness, family and love brings out the uber beastie in so many people.

    • I’ve been out of the business for a few years now, so I’m free to shop whenever, too…I get twitchy if a store is too busy, for totally different reasons!

      Uber-beastie is a perfect description. Sadly, the worst offenders were often the regular customers – people we saw twice a week, every week. The next time they arrived for their normal pound of hamburger and piece of salmon fillet, we had to act like nothing happened…

  5. I don’t like to grocery shop at all! When Ritchey and I work up our retirement agreement that will be one of his jobs! For the first thirty years it’s been my responsibility – and we have six more years to go – that means the next 36 will be all his! A smile will work wonders!

    • Sounds like a plan!
      I actually met Hubby when he was single and doing his own shopping in my store…a task he gladly turned over after I moved in!
      True confession – I still love going to markets when we travel to see how things are done in other countries!

  6. I’m definitely bringing my butcher and produce guy some fresh baked bread and cookies that Thanksgiving week after reading this! I know how busy and hard they work but now thinking about their time for their family holiday, who wants to cook after a week like that!! Thanks for sharing this!

    • OK I googled it. We have a similar day, Australia Day. It is always the 26th of January, a day of going to the beach, having BBQ’s, meant to be about reflecting on our past in this country and how we got where we are. The Australian Aborigines call it a day of mourning and most of us agree that they should. The 26th of January is the day the first fleet arrived in Australia, it meant Australia became a penal colony and then onto a settlement colony, but it also meant the day the Aborigines were invaded and lost everything.

      • Well, sort of like that…it’s not really a patriotic holiday, it’s more like an outgrowth of an end-of-the-season harvest feast, shared with friends and family, where we give thanks for making it through another year… Canada has it, too, but theirs is in October – which makes sense because their harvest is earlier than ours.

        Our Native tribes don’t protest much on this holiday – they save that for Columbus Day, which commemorates the (European) discovery of North America.

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