Overcooked: Thanksgiving 2022
BY BILL RUBIN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
It’s a poorly kept secret that Mr. Grinch resides in Wisconsin’s St. Croix Valley. He is relieved Halloween is in the books. From mid-September through November 1st an inflatable Scary Grinch competed with Holiday Grinch for both shelf space and attention in Big Box stores. At ground-level, the cart-pushing real Grinch was mesmerized by his likenesses, causing shoppers to gather. Alas, Grinch left the Big Box in a huff. Can a Happy New Year Grinch be far behind?
Grinch shares many traits with neighbors and fellow consumers. He is not cheap or tight fisted. He watches for discounts and cuts occasional coupons. And, he embraced his Inner Nerd long ago. A three dollar item at one store purchased for two dollars elsewhere is not just a one dollar savings, it’s a thirty-three percent savings! The extra dollar is tucked into a secret coffee and taproom account, reportedly Grinch’s only known vices. Unspent change is designated for holiday shopping in November and December. Climbing out of a two-year pandemic, main street grills and shops in Whoville could use a boost and hometown booster Grinch will be the first in line.
Before official holiday shopping, Grinch will join his family for Thanksgiving. The headlines are foreboding: higher farm labor costs, soaring feed prices, another round of avian flu, supply chain woes, logistics and fuel spikes, and of course, inflation. Just like Halloween candy increasing 13 percent, the price of turkey is a reported $1.99 per pound. In 2021, the price was $1.15. Inner Nerds, that’s not just eighty-four cents, it’s a 73 percent increase! For a ten pound bird, Grinch will pay $8.40 more, meaning a likely withdrawal from the secret account, causing a chain reaction. A teetering domino tips toward fewer holiday shopping dollars, which tips another domino toward fewer transactions locally.
Grinch was reminded of other meal options. Frozen turkeys cost less than fresh ones. Alternative proteins like chicken or pork are less expensive but are not immune to rising costs. According to September’s Consumer Price Index, the price of chicken is up over 17 percent from 2021 and pork is up almost seven percent.
Other essentials for Thanksgiving dinners in Whoville are higher too, including the price of eggs (up 32.5 percent), butter (up 25.8 percent), flour (up 17.1 percent), fruits/vegetables (up only 7.3 percent), and pie, presumably pumpkin, is up over 20 percent. No word on the green bean casserole price index.
Do not despair St. Croix Valley residents. During his time here, Grinch knows valley residents are resilient. And giving. They find a way. They share their bounty, including an extra plate for the ‘seasoned’ citizens up the street or those unable to travel. Grinch pledges less coffee and taproom stops in the next couple of weeks. He’ll use the savings for the family feast, and in true Grinch fashion, he’ll put slices of pie on the neighbor’s top step and knock lightly. They’ll never know.
The adage of too many cooks in the kitchen still applies. Neither Martha Stewart nor the Grinch endorse anything overcooked. Here’s to a memorable Thanksgiving 2022.