The McGwire turkey…

Thanksgiving is one of the best holidays of the year in my opinion. It’s got three elements that every Dot Rat loves….food, booze and football. In my case there is a fourth one, cooking. I’m one of those people that likes making a massive feast and watching people enjoy it. I wouldn’t be able to pin down exactly how this kicked in but I do remember enjoying trips to Capital Food with Ma. I usually had a ton of questions about what she would buy and why. It really wasn’t all about food and like any kid I usually had ulterior motives. Being a good doobie at the market meant I could up my chances of convincing her to stop at Bradlees across the parking lot so we could “just look”. With some smooth talking and the occasional guilt trip I could walk out with a GI Joe.  We would pack up one of those huge Checker model Red & White taxis with the fold up booster seats and head back to the penthouse apartment on top of our triple decker. There I would watch her put together all of the comfort foods I enjoy to this day.

I can remember her getting up at like 6AM to do Thanksgiving dinner and complaining what a ton of work it was to do dinner that day. But, I can never recall her having any issues actually buying a turkey. Fast forward to my weekend —->

So for us men, our subconscious/ego/testosterone tends to drive us on occasion. Whether it’s a TV, car, boat or a turkey….the size of it directly correlates to the size of our ummmm… toes. So of course you know I’m on the hunt for a 30lb bird this weekend. In past years I have been able to snag a 27, 28 and a 28.5….but the Mark McGwire of turkeys has been eluding me. And much like every athlete acts when the question of steroid use pops up in the locker room, the butchers in our local supermarket chains pulled the same sh*t with me this weekend….nobody knew a f*cking thing. So today I’m going Geraldo on their asses and letting my fellow Dot Rats know where to find the Big Mac of Turkeys and where to stay away from.

The first stop on this endeavor was Hannaford in Quincy. These guys are owned buy some Belgian company and I have had good luck with them in the past. They carry Marvel brand turkeys that tend to be on the bigger side. I hit their freezer and all I’m seeing are a bunch of frozen JJ’s….10 to 15 pounders.

So I go directly to the butcher counter and ask if they had any birds at 25 pounds and up. Dude looks at me and goes….”I have never heard of a turkey that big”. I tell him I bought a 28.5 pound turkey from this store the year before. He looks at me….gives the me the Gary Coleman lips and says “this store?”. So I get pissed and say “no maybe it was one of the other five Hannaford stores in Quincy”…. He shakes his head as to agree with me. Time to pull my chute… off to Stop & Shop.


So I walk into Stop & Shop and start dodging carriages like a pedestrian in Beijing. Why it’s always so crowded, god only knows, their prices aren’t the best. Dorchester actually seems like it has higher prices than Quincy which I never really understood. I guess when you’re owned by a company in Amsterdam you can count on the prices being a bit fudged. After rifling through the entire pile snowballs they pass off as turkeys I headed over to the big plastic door they call a butcher counter. Everyone seemed to be ignoring me, perhaps they where getting ready to smoke fatties on the loading dock for Amsterdam hour. So before I started throwing snowballs at the staff….I pull the chute again….time to head over to Shaws.


As you can imagine….same deal at Shaw’s in Quincy. Gone are the days that the Mugar family made the store into the household name I remember. They’re owned by SuperValu out in Minnesota….and the staff is just as cold as the state. After trying to ignore the filthy case they had their crackhead turkeys sitting in, I approached their “plastic door”. After explaining at length the ordeal I was having trying to find my McGwire turkey, the dude I was talking to goes “Huh?………………………………..Oh I’m sorry man I work in produce.” Now I stopped this dude because he literally had blood on his apron like a good butcher should. So I respond with “Really?…………did the bananas do a f*cking drive by on the tomatoes or something?”. After turning his head like the RCA dog he ends up walking away….because he got caught in a lie. Essentially none of these donkeys wanted to help me because they would have to rip through the turkeys and do some heavy lifting. So I’m off to my last hope…. Roche Brothers in Quincy. 

Now I’m a little biased here. Roche Bros has been my favorite market for a few years now. You don’t need a Matrix tracking device (store card) to get a dollar off a dozen eggs….the price you see is what you pay. The store tends to carry local products and the staff has always been friendly.  They are a true Massachusetts company which is huge in my book. They are top of the food chain (no pun) and my adventure over the weekend kind of solidified that.

Just like before, it was straight to the meat department. 20 to 24 pounders everywhere and my anxiety was through the roof. Let’s face it,  my virility was on the line here. I look over and there they are, this crew of wide shouldered older men with white coats standing guard over a massive display of finely butchered meats. They knew I was looking for some action! I walk over like I’m approaching the meat mafia and one of the boys locks eyes with me then smiles. I go “Hey buddy, please tell me you got some bigger turkeys back there.” He goes “Of course we do, what are you looking for?” I look around like I’m about to pull off the Brinks job. “As close to 30 pounds as you got.” he says “Not a problem!”. After 2 or 3 minutes he rounds the corner with this 29 pound Norbest turkey with a red and white package. This guy saved Thanksgiving…he knew what was on the line and came through when it mattered most. He found my McGwire!

God bless Roche Bros….and god bless the United States of America.

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