By Chris Watson
At first blush it seems ridiculous to buy a turkey for one person. Or two people for that matter. What on earth would a single guy do with a 12 pound turkey?
Wait…12 pounds? That is two and a half chickens. Minus bones and the parts most people don’t want to eat and that isn’t too bad. Plus I like turkey so…
This is a typical dilemma during the holidays. When we live solo or in pairs we end up compromising what we want in favor of what we think is practical. We decide we don’t want something because our family/household size doesn’t “merit” the expense. We don’t bake the cookies we love because a couple dozen cookies is too much. We don’t buy a Christmas tree because that is something to do with kids. In my case I eat Thanksgiving dinner at a friend’s house and come home without the best part of the dinner…the leftovers for the next couple of days.
So on the Sunday after turkey day I found a “fresh young” turkey at the grocery. These are the kind of turkeys no one wants because they are small and expensive. Except after the holiday. Then the stores shamelessly drop the prices. Plus if you check the turkey section you will find the smaller turkeys tend to be the ones left in the case. Whether the price has dropped or you happen upon a smaller turkey the result is the same…Turkey for Two!
I came home with 12 pounds of turkey goodness for eleven dollars. Decent steak is running $12 a pound and top quality fish is the same or higher per pound. Bringing home my 12 pound turkey, cooking it, getting a sandwich or two seems pretty cheap. Even if I throw half of the the bird away (which I would never do) I have wasted five or six bucks and some oven time. And don’t limit yourself to turkey. Bone in hams go on sale all the time and you can, in essence, do the same thing.
Wasting Opportunity, Not Money
Six dollars to bring the holiday into my kitchen. Cheaper than a movie, probably more entertaining as well. More importantly it establishes (or reclaims) my kitchen and my townhouse as greater than just a dwelling or domicile. It states, in sagey, roasted poultry fashion that this is my HOME.
As we begin the next few weeks of holiday time, New Year celebration, and even football mania it is important to remember that we can still do the things we love regardless of the number of occupants in our home. We can still experience all of the holiday activities that we have enjoyed in the past when we were part of larger households. For many of us these are first time experiences. We are establishing “new” traditions. Practices, customs, and activities that are not just new but give us renewed feelings of home and hearth. And if it costs a bit of money and even a bit of waste along the way that is not a crime. It is the same price everyone pays to feel “cozy” or “warm” or just plain “content”. Those feelings don’t come with size attached.
At a time when we are filled with images of big, large, and grandiose, it is important, even imperative to remember that in almost all cases in general, and with the holidays in particular, size doesn’t really matter.
A Look at Cost*
Veggies $ 3.00
Stuffing Mix $ 3.00
Turkey Stock $ 3.00
Total Cost $20.00
For that I got 4 turkey and stuffing meals (I froze off a couple) and 2 sandwiches. I also froze off a couple of packs of loose turkey meat but you could, after 6 meals, throw the rest away. Total cost per meal? $3.30….and that is tossing a bunch in the trash. If you are a soup person and work with the bones and use the loose meat that cost could go down. The point is the whole thing, even with “waste” is pretty cheap to bring some holiday into your smaller household.
*these prices are the ones I found in the store. They don’t include things like spices, cornstarch, or other “staples” that I have in my kitchen. I found a small turkey on sale at $0.88 per pound.