Thursday, November 25, 2010

How a Last-Minute Turkey Search Leads to Another PB Adventure

Happy Thanksgiving, all! On Monday night my elder daughter announced she would join us for dinner today, great news, but unexpected. I did not have a turkey on hand … I had just read a fellow blogger’s account of killing the bird she and her husband had raised (Starving Off the Land). Tamar Haspel fled Manhattan for Cape Cod to see if she could survive off the land. Slaughter of your own turkey makes sense to me. It was like the old woman in Cold Mountain, who killed the goat and thanked it beforehand. Since we were not raising our own turkeys and did not plan ahead for Thanksgiving as did another Cape blogger, Elspeth Hay, who writes Diary Of A Locavore, local turkey would not be an option. Perhaps we could get in on a little organic turkey action instead?

Reminders to order turkey ahead seemed to have been posted everywhere last week, but, on Tuesday, not a one could I find. Wellfleet Marketplace might have stocked an extra bird or two, but I was already in Hyannis for a dental appointment and there was no way to find out. Before heading home, I did some shopping at Trader Joe’s. The remaining turkeys were enormous. Surely there would be smaller ones in Orleans?

To my surprise, Phoenix had none whatsoever. The turkeys probably arrived the following day for those customers who thought to place orders ahead of time.

After Phoenix, I hightailed it to the poultry aisle at Stop & Shop and dug out the last two organic turkeys from a flock of antibiotic-laden birds. My choice sported no label, so I heaved the frozen bird under my arm and set off in search of a price. With trepidation I pushed past the rubber door flap into the butchers’ domain but there was nary a butcher in sight. I managed to flag down a Stop & Shop employee, beside the steaks display.

“This turkey has no label,” I said.

“You don’t want to buy it frozen, lady,” he told me. “Won’t defrost in time for Thanksgiving. Grab a Butterball instead. They’re fresh.”

Chastened, I returned the organic bird to the freezer case with a loud clunk. Butterball I would not buy because of an Environmental Working Group warning that non-organic turkeys may contain arsenic. But, seriously now, had I stopped to think about whether it made sense to spend $30 on a ten-pound turkey? My daughter eats very little, and turkey is not Sven’s favorite. Winged turkey sandwiches began doing dainty pirouettes in my head.

“Let’s go to a restaurant!” my husband suggested when I got home.

I called Wicked Oyster. Closed Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week. Oh, rats! Then yesterday morning I dialed PB to see if there had been a cancellation. We were in luck. My daughter will get to experience PB Boulangerie Bistro. Dinde á la française, here we come!