Choosing a turkey these days is difficult.
At Thanksgiving, grocery stores always use turkeys as, what's referred to in the trade as, a loss - leader. This means the stores price the turkeys so low that they actually loose money.
It sounds stupid, I know, to loose money but stores are in such great competation at holiday times that they're willing to do anything just to get people into the store.
Once the customers are in the store they'll buy the rest of their holiday needs and rack up a huge bill which makes up for what the store lost on the turkey.
OK, so price is one of the factors in choosing a turkey. Loss leader turkeys are usually name brands so you can get a really good deal. Shop wisely for the rest of your dinner needs and you'll come out a winner.
But there are also speciality turkeys to consider.
Fresh (never been frozen) turkeys, free range (barn yard) turkeys and organic turkeys. Some speciality farms even offer heirloom varieties of game bred turkeys.
And then there are whole turkey breasts, vegetarian turkeys (sometimes called Tofukeys - pronounced toe -foo-keys) and that specialty from New Orleans - Turduckans
(pronounced tur-duck-ans which are turkeys stuffed with duck and sometimes ham, too). Some people serve smoked turkeys for Thanksgiving
At Cheesecake Farms, our favorite type of turkey is a natural, free range organic bird. They're firmer in texture and taste than our modern fork tender types. They taste more like the old fashioned game birds grandma used to make.
Most grocery and specialty stores stock natural, free range organic turkeys and they're modestly priced at $1.50 - 3.50 per pound (in Fauquier County, Virginia). That's more than a loss leader bird but we like the taste and texture better plus the soup you'll be making with the bones (after Thanksgiving) we think is more flavorful.
We're not big on exotic, heirloom birds or specialty items with sky high price tags. We just like a good, honestly prepared turkey that won't break the bank.
Lots of grocery stores and restaurants will cook a turkey for you (or your whole meal for that matter) and all you have to do it heat it up.
Read that line again....."all you have to do is heat it up."
If you have to reheat it (I call that left overs), or cook any part of it, you might as well cook the meal yourself or eat out.
Cooking a real, honest to goodness Thanksgiving dinner is not hard or difficult. Roasting the turkey is easy and the most soul satisfying part.
Thanksgiving is the meal. It's the preparation. It's the homey smells tempting your taste buds and it's tummy filling warmth.
Thanksgiving is the time we share a table with loved ones and linger for hours. It's a time we get in touch with the real important things of life.
Thanksgiving is the time we stop and smell the ....well, turkey.
Check back tomorrow as we count the days till Thanksgiving with scrumptious recipes for festive fall fare.
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