Saving the World, One Turkey Breast at a Time

Christi Vivar

My husband and I always seem to go grocery shopping late at night. I'm convinced that the grocery store is only open after 9:30 p.m.—because that's the earliest I've ever been—and that it is a very dismal place to be after 8 p.m. The fluorescent lights seem harsh and accusing after emerging from the darkness outside. The late-night workers have clocked in for their shifts, and they pull merchandise out of dirty plastic with great enthusiasm and energy, well disguised by boredom.

Without fail, every time we go to the grocery store, we always end up needing some obscure item located on the furthest aisle away from the front door. Not only that, but this item is also usually buried on the bottom shelf, on the left side, beside fish paste or some other such grocery staple.

All that aside, the typical grocery store visit isn't all bad. The last time we were there, I noticed that they now have reusable grocery bags for sale as you stand in line. Supposedly, each bag is made from plastic bottles and can last for a long time, replacing lots of ordinary plastic bags. Maybe the last time I was there, it was so late, and I was so hungry, and the line was so long that somehow I decided that this was a brilliant idea. So I bought several.

This whole plan would have been brilliant on a normal grocery run. However, on this particular evening, not only were we buying the reusable grocery bags, we were hoping to have the cashier ring them up and hand them back to us so we could start saving the environment right then and there.

Brilliant idea, except we chose the line with the slowest cashier on earth. This poor man must have been new or possibly 120 years old. It took him, on average, about 30 seconds per item. The pattern went something like this: He would pick up an item, look at it as though he had never before set eyes on such a thing, search for the barcode, attempt to scan the barcode, fail, look at the barcode closely, attempt to scan again, repeat, repeat, finally get item to scan, carefully place item into bag, rearrange item in bag, look at it one last time. Now, imagine as he repeated the entire sequence for a full shopping cart. And this was just the cart in front of us.

When we finally got to him, and I tried to explain how we wanted him to ring up our reusable grocery bags, take the tags off and give them back to us to bag our items, it shook his entire worldview. Somehow, we managed to get out of the store before midnight.

My husband blamed the entire predicament on my efforts to be environmentally minded. I did feel bad that my environment-friendly urges had stressed him out, so I promised to make him dinner the following night. Me making him dinner occurs almost as rarely as a blue moon, so it's definitely a make-everything-better move on my part.

When he called to tell me he was on his way home the next day, he asked if there was meat involved with my make-up dinner. I assured him that, yes, there was plenty of meat, three pounds of it, actually.

One of the items we carried home in the ultra environmentally friendly shopping bags was a turkey breast. I have a weakness for turkey. Not just the Thanksgiving turkey (although that is quite nice), but turkey in almost every shape and form. I use ground turkey in place of ground beef in spaghetti and meatloaf. I use turkey tenders on salad. And I recently rediscovered the joys of a turkey leg at a music festival.

My husband loved the dinner and decided that I wasn't a psycho hippie-chick determined to have him living on tofu and solar-powered bicycles.

So, my personal philosophy for saving the environment is as follows: (1) Make emotionally charged and lack-of-sleep-driven decisions about possible options to save the environment (like purchasing reusable shopping bags). (2) Somehow manage to make those decisions at the most inconvenient times. And (3) when your decision backfires, and your husband is ready to chop down every tree in the world just to prove a point, cook him whatever kind of food makes him love you again, so that he will continue to support your eco friendly urges.

As for me, I am determined to save the environment, one oven-roasted turkey breast at a time.

Fabulously Oven Roasted Turkey Breast

1 boneless turkey breast (two to four pounds)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons rosemary
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons chili powder

Mix all spices. Rub turkey breast with olive oil. Using hands, rub spices onto turkey breast. Place turkey breast into a greased baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 60 to 90 minutes or until internal temperature reads 170 degrees. Let the turkey sit for five to 10 minutes before slicing.

Previous Comments


LOVE finding a fellow Turkey at any time person. I use to cook a bird in college and feed me and roomies for a long time. Cheap, good food, and TASTY if you can do it right and not make it bone dry. Here are some twists to try 1. Brine the bird. My in laws opposed turkey other than my brother in law. I, after being brought in to the family, was made in charge of it since I love it and would cook it. One of the best I ever made I brined for 3 days (nearly caused a divorce. My wife still maintains I cared more for the bird over those days than her. She also concedes it is the first time her family ever went for seconds on turkey and ASKED for it instead of ham the next year.) 2. Grill it. I grilled an entire bird whole last year (on gas with rosemary smoke). It made a centerpiece to die for. (My wife actually took pictures and shows them off). Additionally.... moist, tender and flavorful. It gave the brined turkey a run for its money. I am thinking of combining the two this year...


Agamm - i'm interested in the brining process - wolfgang puck had a whole show on brining a turkey, and he said that it makes all the difference... i would love to hear your specifics, too - what's in your brine? And since I am single, I can hold my turkey lovin' head up high and brine for three days without persecution! ;)



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