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Monday, November 14, 2022

Thanksgiving Is When the Turkey Defrosts!

 Hello dear friends!  I hope this post finds you all well!  Well, after a very long Indian summer, we are really starting to experience the onset of winter.  Already had snow and this morning was a balmy 22 degrees (Fahrenheit).

I keep reading and seeing YouTube videos about the high cost of Thanksgiving this year.  What?  Thanksgiving dinner is one of the cheapest meals you can make for a crowd any time of the year.  A long time ago my husband was met with a rather harried worker that he managed, that wanted to talk to him in private.  What could it be?  Some harassment charge?  Was she quitting?  Had she made a major mistake on one of the formulas?   Nope.  What she wanted to know was how we managed to feed four teenage sons and still save money with two in college.  You'd never guess his response.  "Turkey is not just for Thanksgiving"!  Back then you could buy a turkey for around 37 cents a pound.  I think I made one almost every month.  Even this year, with inflation and everything else going on, I bought a nice store brand one for 55 cents a pound and even Walmart had the high-end Butterball and Honeysuckle Whites for 99 cents a pound.  The 55-cent turkey came from Meijer, a national chain of stores throughout the Midwest and there's Walmarts everywhere, so I don't want to hear it from those that whine that prices are sooooo much lower where I live.  And even our smaller grocery store had them for 50 cents a pound with a fifty-dollar purchase.  You have to be a little proactive and seek out bargains.  People are always skeptical when I say how little we spend on groceries, so here's a breakdown of this month's expenditures:

A 15# turkey for $7.86 (Meijers)

4 12 oz. pkgs fresh cranberries at $1.50 (Walmart)

A bunch of celery for 99 cents (Aldi)

A `14 oz pkg of golden raisins for $3.69 (Meijers)

A dozen free-range eggs that I bought at a church bake sale for $2

A half-gallon carton of Lactaid milk for under $3 at Aldi (for Blackie the cat)

That's our total grocery expenditure for this month.  I think it totals to something under thirty dollars.  I can hear the skeptics saying, "But that doesn't make meals for a month!"   It doesn't, but I don't need to buy enough to make 30 meals because I always stock up when prices are at their lowest.  For instance, at our local Amish scratch-and-dent store, we purchased Starbucks coffee beans in a five-pound vacuum sealed bags for $15.  That's $3 a pound!  We bought enough for year; I doubt we'll find it at a better price.  Last Thanksgiving, Meijers had butter for $1.79 a pound, so we bought 12 pounds (enough for a year) and froze it.  We live very simply and really only need to buy staples, which we buy in bulk at one of two stores, a Mennonite bulk food store or an Amish store.  We grow all our own vegetables, herbs and fruits (I really didn't need to buy that celery because I had some canned and dried from the garden, but it was just too tempting) and Ran is an avid fisherman that supplies us with most of the meat that eat, enough to have at least one meal a week of fish throughout the year. And truly that is all the meat we need, but whenever there's an amazing sale, I will buy meat and can it. Like those roast I wrote about in the last post. I'm considering buying another larger turkey and canning it at these prices.  I can the meat because we only have a small freezer that is filled with fish. Which is why we celebrate Thanksgiving when the turkey defrosts! No room in the freezer!

When our children grew up and moved away from home, I used to get depressed during the holidays since we were alone during the holidays. But gradually I learned to love celebrating the holidays whenever we choose to celebrate them.  After all, holidays are just another date on the calendar.  I don't need the government to declare s special day to be thankful.  Every day our little family of three bows our head and gives thanks. Christmas and Easter are focused on the meaning of the day, a day of quiet contemplation.  It is very serene and in concert with how we live our lives all the remaining days of the year.

BTW, I calculated how many meals we will get out of that $7.86 turkey.  Day1: Turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, squash and brussel sprouts.  Day 2: leftovers.  Day 3: soup  (made from the carcass) with lots of homemade noodles and some of the turkey diced up with barbecue sauce on homemade rolls.  The remainder turkey was put into 5 quart-sized freezer containers for meals at a later date.  These meals will include turkey burritos, casserole and pot pie.  Each of these meals will make enough for two days.  So, what is that? Thirteen good meals for under $8?  And that doesn't include lots of snacks.  BTW, we only eat two meals a day, breakfast (usually oatmeal) and lunch.  Three meals are too much, and we don't like to eat late in the day.  If someone is hungry later in the day, they can always eat leftovers and we keep cheese and homemade crackers on hand. 

Later in the day on our Thanksgiving I made cranberry gingerbread from the leftover cranberry sauce.  Warm gingerbread with a cup of Russian tea by the fire is one of the coziest things in the world. Especially if you are wearing a pair of handknit socks.

These are a pattern that I just made up.  I've been trying to knit down my yarn stash.  Lately, been enjoying the creativity of making up my own designs.  Once you know the basics of knitting socks, mittens, hats and even sweaters, you really don't need all those knitting patterns and books.  Since most of my yarns come for thrift stores, garage and estate sales, most patterns that require specific yarns are impractical for my use. Some knitters may pooh-pooh using vintage yarns, but I've found most to be pure delights to work with, just look for skeins that say 100% wool. And being the oddball that I am, I really love making and using something no one else has.

So anyway, I suppose that I prattled on here long enough.  For all my American readers I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!  And to everyone else, I wish you a very merry week!