Holiday Meal
Planning & Sharing
by Roberta B. Turner

If you’re planning to serve turkey at Thanksgiving this year, it will come with a generous side dish of inflation.

Holiday chefs looking for an alternative to turkey might consider beef. Its price, which rose sharply during the height of the pandemic, has fallen in recent months because of an increase in supply.

Economists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report that an ongoing outbreak of avian influenza in the U.S. has devastated both commercial chicken and turkey flocks. As a result, retail prices of breast meat have risen above $6.50 a pound this year. In 2020, the price per pound was around $2.

The price of whole turkeys is also sharply higher. The market research firm Urner Barry estimates the price this year is 57% higher than the latest five-year average.

Prices for chicken and turkey were up by more than 18% year-over-year as measured by the pound, the highest rate among all types of fresh meat, while fresh beef and pork prices inched up at annual rates of less than 1%.

Most of us have holiday traditions when it comes to meal planning. Growing up Irish and Italian, we always included Italian dishes like eggplant parmigiana and lasagna on the menu, and the Irish side always included a crown of pork or chateaubriand. In recent years, our daughter has become the holiday chef and we are simply the guests. We started a new tradition a few years ago that we stopped during the pandemic but plan to bring back this year. That is a Champagne and dessert buffet. I am not a pastry chef, so I am one that orders from various different sources, and among my favorites are Neiman Marcus, Harry & David, Gold Belly, and some of the better local bakeries.

At the time that I am writing this article I am still devasted by the destruction to our west coast neighbors and I would like to recruit a group of us to find a way to select one organization that would consider catering a special holiday event for those who have lost so much. The event would be more than just handing out a box of food but an actual event where there are tables and chairs and music, with friendship and love being important ingredients. I am a native Miamian and I have lived through many hurricanes, including Andrew. What happened to the west coast could happen to any of us. Let’s show our gratitude and love for mankind this holiday season. Your ideas and participation are more than welcome. South Florida, let’s make a difference.