Turkey Soup: How soup homemade saves money, family and the earth.
December 1, 2019
The Saturday after Thanksgiving, our family spent a quiet day at home. I had gone out Ocean Plastic Picking early in the morning, and quickly picked up 2 bags of ocean bound plastic and hauled home at least 10 items. Interestingly enough it was a monetarily high yield salvagable day as I found one almost new Corkcicle water bottle which retails $32.95 and a pair of Men’s Arizona Slide Sandals by Birkenstock which retails $44.99. I never had heard of Corkcicle before until my recent interview with Dr. Craig Canapari who uses this brand of water bottle https://drplasticpicker.com/dr-craig-canapari-pediatrician-and-environmentalist-2/. Those items have been carefully washed and I will regift them soon and deploy them back into the circular economy.
After washing up and cleaning the kitchen a bit, I noticed that the kids and crazy black puppy and Mr. Plastic Picker were still asleep. I had already finished one easy blog post that morning https://drplasticpicker.com/november-2019-plastic-picking-round-up/ , so I decided to make Turkey Soup.
For my patients’ families and real-life friends, you all know how remarkable my making soup is. The first time I learned how to handle and cook meat was eight years ago in my mid 30s, and this last Thanksgiving was the first time I had tackled a turkey. And indeed my herb-butter roasted Turkey turned out glorious https://drplasticpicker.com/cooking-a-turkey-saved-money-used-less-plastic-and-finally-felt-at-home/. At $3.71 a person, we home-cooked a very frugal, delicious and family-centric Thanksgiving dinner for six and minimized food waste. We also did not overeat.
Indeed, it was the idea of minimizing food waste that prompted me to try to make Turkey stock and soup. According to a recent article from Market Watch, “Americans throw away roughly $165 billion in uneaten food every year, according to government data. And about $293 million of that waste will happen during Thanksgiving — and that’s just for turkey alone.” https://www.marketwatch.com/story/this-is-how-much-food-americans-waste-at-thanksgiving-2016-11-22 Indeed I saw this in the lunch room at work on the Friday morning after Thanksgiving, as the kitchen was filled with leftovers. We all helped eat everything down, but there was a lot that ended up in the trash bin at the end of the day destined to become methane.
So in the spirit and reducing food waste, we have been eating leftovers and already made a big dent. The turkey was part of the protein in a rice stirfry my middle-school daughter made, and I snuck bits of turkey in their quesadilla for breakfast which I paired with apple slices. But my mother had suggested making Turkey stock. My mother is a phenomenal cook. Interestingly my old senior resident Dr. Young-Ho Yoon who is a committed environmentalist did the same thing that morning as he commented on my personal facebook https://drplasticpicker.com/dr-young-ho-yoon-pediatrian-and-environmentalist-1/. This is not surprising, as great minds think alike even almost 15 years after residency together!
So I made Turkey stock and soup. I just googled the first easy one which was from simplyrecipes.com https://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/moms_turkey_soup/. I have been cooking long enough now, that I’ve learned to improvise a bit and had called my mother twice to get her input during the process. I had saved the turkey carcass in preparation for it, and used just whatever leftovers I had at home to make the stock. I used the turkey drippings and parts that were supposed to be for the gravy (we didn’t have potatoes and the turkey was so moist we didn’t need gravy). I used an onion I found in my mother-in-law’s office. My mother-in-law weirdly stashes 10 lb bags of onions in their “office.” That office was supposed to be my guest-bedroom, yet another blog topic entirely. I’m not sure if she is hoarding them there for the coming apocolypse? I also used carrots I found in the fridge and the thyme and sage seasoning that we already had.
And with that I had the turkey stock going for 3 hours, and I wrote on my personal facebook page “Never too late to learn. Making turkey stock for the first time. House smells so good.” And I called my mother and told her how wonderful the broth smelled especially on such a cold Southern California day. I think it amuses my parents to no end that I’m cooking now.
We were thinking about saving the turkey stock for soup later, and going out to dinner or maybe to Target. We used to shop at Target for fun all the time, easily leaving $200 poorer with things we had no intention of buying and did not need. We certainly can afford it but can the earth? So the kids had been happy to spend a quieter evening at home. In the spirit of less consumption, the kids agreed to soup if we got them some cuties. So with the turkey stock already almost done, I just put in dried pasta and chopped up some chayote I had randomly in the fridge and seasoned it a bit with Better than Bullion and a bit more salt and pepper. I figured I would just fish out the bits of bone, and my kids are old enough to eat carefully. So Mr. Plastic Picker and I just walked to Sprouts which is just 2 blocks down, and bought a fresh baguette of bread, some fancy cheese and some cuties that the kids wanted. We used our reusable bags and walked home. By the time we were home, the soup was done. Our daughter is old enough to manage the stove, and had turned it off when the timer said done.
Let me insert an aside into how much money we saved. Years ago I thought about starting a personal finance blog about mommy MDs with a friend, but that market got saturated and I never needed to make money off readers anyway. But here I am channeling my dreams of being a personal finance blogger like my internet hero lenpenzo https://drplasticpicker.com/drplasticpicker-learns-that-half-the-internet-is-plastic-fake-but-not-lenpenzo-com-and-his-readers/!
Most likely we would have gone to Panera or a restaurant that same price range, and gone to the local Redding Cinema which is a mid-priced movie theatre. I did account for we would have eaten less cookies if we had gone out,
Turkey Soup Cost per Serving (~10 large bowls)
|Turkey carcass/drippings||$0 (leftover from Thanksgiving)|
|Onion||$0 (I took it from my mother-in-law)|
|Per Serving||$0.40 per bowl|
|SOUP DINNER & MOVIE||COST COMPARISON|
|Turkey/Chicken Soup Bowl||$0.40 per bowl x 4= $1.6||$5.49 per bowl x 4 = $21.96|
|French Baguette||$3.99||$0.75 a piece x 4 pieces= $3|
|Chocolate Chip Cookie||$2.50 per package x 0.5 = $1.25||$2.49 per cookie x 3 = $7.47|
|Cheese||$5.99 per wedge x 0.5 wedge = $3||$1.4 equivalent cheese spread x 0.5 = $0.70|
|Seltzer Water||$0.50 per can x 2 = $1.0||$2.69 per can x 2 = $5.38|
|Movie||$5 on demand from our internet provider||$8.50 per ticket x 4 = $34|
We had a delicious turkey soup dinner, with french bread, fancy cheese on a board, and seltzer water. We thought about going to the movie theatre afterwards, but instead we decided to watch Toy Story 4 which we had missed in the theatre. We thought about going out for frozen yogurt or desert, but we forget we had chocolate chip cookie dough ready to go. The kids initially weren’t thrilled about Toy Story 4, and we went back and forth about which movie. But in the end, we each had 2 amazingly warm chocolate chip cookies, and we cozied up on the couch with the four of us and our crazy black puppy. It was a fantastic movie and we laughed and argued, and brother-sister-puppy-father had their little interactions.
And as a mother, I was wedged in the corner between my daughter and puppy and as happy as can be. I had made my first batch of Turkey soup, saved myself at least $55 dollars. That is enough to save 94 acres of Kenya’s Northern Rangelands to secure a Critical Wildlife Corridor that includes the Black Rhinocerus through the Rainforest Trust. The black rhino is a species my children love. Actually there is a wealthy donor quadruple matching so it’s really 379 acres that $55 can save. Wow cooking Turkey soup at home and watching a movie on our own television, really can save money, time, family and the earth. Here is proof that I did it!
And it is now 11am on a beautiful Sunday morning, and the Drplasticpicker family will head off to the library.
Read here about our next holiday meal adventure, Christmas Dinner with Stouffer’s Enchilada https://drplasticpicker.com/christmas-dinner-drplasticpicker-family-tries-to-satisfy-the-cousins/