I’m one of those clean n’ green tree huggers. Back in the 70’s tree huggers were called granolas or earth mothers. Come on. You remember those unshaven men with greasy ponytails and their female counterparts clad in peasant skirts and no bra, standing around on hillsides in their sandals, holding hands, singing stuff like, “I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony.” It’s good for me that being a clean n’ green tree hugger has become more mainstream since then. That bohemian peasant skirt look is not a good one for me, plus, water conservation aside, I kind of have gotten into the habit of bathing daily. Don’t even get me started on bra-less-ness. At my age it’s down right dangerous not to strap the girls into a good supportive bra.
I am what you’d call your twenty first century garden variety clean n’ green tree hugger. Nothing special about me. I use only 100% biodegradable-environmentally-friendly-plant-based soaps, detergents, cleaners, and personal hygeine products, just like a lot of people these days. I buy organic food, just like a lot of people these days. I’m as socially and environmentally conscious as the next guy, but my real motivation in all of this is health. You’re probably wondering, where is she headed with all of this? I’ll tell you: turkey shopping. Have you ever tried to find an organically raised, humanely treated turkey at the grocery store? It’s not easy. Pickin’s were slim again this year, but hey, I’ve got standards and I was determined not to compromise them. I found my bird of choice in the organic meat section of my local grocery store, where the staff is well acquainted with me and my idiosyncratic shopping tendencies. One of the butchers saw me coming. I know he did. We made eye contact, and if you can believe it, he pretended not to see me anyway. He turned on his heel and walked briskly toward the refuge of the swinging door in the corner of the meat department. Are you kidding? Motivated by the idea that Mr. Butcher took me for some sort of idiot, I chased him down.
“Excuse me. Excuse me,” I called, waving and running after him.
He glanced over his shoulder and kept walking.
“Excuse me. Can I get some help over here?”
“I’m sorry. I didn’t see you there.” RIGHT. “How can I help you?”
“Are these the only fresh, organic turkeys you have?”
“Oh. Well these say ‘organic,’ but not ‘certified organic’ like the other organic meat. Why is that?”
“Let’s see, ” he said adjusting his reading glasses and scrutinizing the label. “Well, now, it looks like they are free-range farm raised without antibiotics or hormones. So, hmmm, I’m not sure why they’re not certified, but they’re most certainly organic.”
“Is there someone else who might know?” Gee whiz. I hadn’t thought to read the label…don’t patronize me. I mean really, if I’m going to cough up $2.89 versus $0.99 a pound, I want to be sure I’m taking home an organic bird. Right?
“Let me see if someone can answer your question. Wait here.” He sounded rather vinegary and I halfway expected he just might leave me there tapping my foot until I got bored, gave up and went home.
“While you’re back there, would you please check to see if you’ve got any birds in the 18 to 20 pound range?” I shouted in the sweetest sing-songy voice I could muster. “All of these are around 15 pounds and I need something a little bigger.”
“Sure,” over his shoulder again, but I’m pretty sure he wasn’t listening. Surprise! A few minutes later Mr. (Belligerent) Butcher came back with the meat department manager.
“I’m so sorry, but I never even noticed that these aren’t certified organic, ma’am. There’s not a huge market for fresh organic turkeys in our demographic here at this store and this is the only brand we were able to get this year. They probably don’t meet one of the FDA criterion, but they definitely are hormone and antibiotic free.”
“I see. Okay, thanks so much.” To Mr. Butcher, “Were you able to find any bigger birds back there?”
“With these birds being hormone free you’re not going to find one much bigger than about 16 pounds.”
“Okay, that makes sense, but all the ones here in the case are 15 pounds or smaller. Did you happen to find a 16-pounder back there?”
“One pound is not going to make much of a difference once it’s cooked,” was his acerbic retort. The nerve of this guy.
“Thanks for the cooking tip. I know how busy you must be. I’m so sorry to interrupt you. Perhaps I can make things easier for you. Just lead the way and I’ll check for myself, or maybe I can ask that nice department manager to check for me. How about that?”
“I’ll be right back.”
“Thank you.” Tap. Tap. Tap. Humming: la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la in perfect harmony…
“Here you go. It’s the only 16-pound turkey back there. It’s yours.”
Was that so bad? “Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving.” Sheesh. It would have been faster to hunt down a wild one and shoot it myself. Maybe next year. Maybe next year. I’d like to teach the world to sing, do, do, do , do , do , do…
Till tomorrow… Good night. Sleep tight.