Skip to content Skip to navigation

A holiday tradition ends

December 28, 2015
by Kathleen Mears
| Reprints

I have eaten turkey in nursing homes for over 19 years. Throughout those years that turkey came in many forms – most of it quite processed. I have had what I call "slab turkey" which resembles a jellied type of deli meat. Then, there is deli turkey which is pretty much for sandwiches. Then, there is processed turkey breast. It has a kind of weird fowl scent which does not make my mouth water. But, in two different nursing homes, on every Thanksgiving up until this year, we residents had real "on the bird turkey" for Thanksgiving.

The Thanksgiving just past a nursing home spoiled my tradition. It is the first Thanksgiving I have been served processed turkey breast –instead of turkey from a real bird. While I know in the scheme of things, "on the bird turkey" is not important. I know I probably get just as much protein from processed turkey. I also know that "on the bird turkey" is probably more expensive at Thanksgiving.

The last few years the Thanksgiving turkey portions have been getting smaller. Dietary's budget has probably been lowered. Therefore, it is important that we residents get adequately fed, not that we have "on the bird turkey" which I think is tastier.

A couple of weeks ago I read an article online informing consumers who purchase free range, organic turkey about how they are grown. The turkeys live too close to one another and are not slaughtered in an attractive way. The article sort of said – if you want anything to be plentiful – including turkey – you have to give up a few things to mass production. So for some mass processed turkey, of necessity, has become a holiday staple.

Since I used to live in a small southeastern Ohio town where we could purchase chickens and turkeys grown locally, one day I started checking the area where I live now. Surprisingly, there is a turkey and chicken farm that sells turkeys, chickens, and farm type products such as eggs, and maple syrup near this nursing home. I have told this to a couple of locals and they were quite surprised.

I wonder if perhaps next year we residents could try to make deal with the local grower to get real Thanksgiving turkeys at a reduced price.


Kathleen Mears

Kathleen Mears has been a nursing home resident in Ohio for 20 years. She is an incomplete...