Mmmmm, Turkey

The Fiscal Times reports that the most popular sandwich in America is … wait for it … turkey.

Gobble GobbleI bought two turkeys on sale and put them in Joe’s freezer next door. We ate one at the appropriate holiday and left the other for the next big company meal.

I had not forgotten that but somehow, when Rufus was here, we spent all our time eating gumbo at Sparky’s or a really amazing pork loin with Ken and Beth and we simply didn’t eat the bird.

After turkey on the list of nearly 1,000 lunch eaters comes ham, chicken, a sub of indeterminate gender and dressing, and deli salad. I’m sorry to report that PB and J is down at number 6 on the Wall Street list and the BLT is even below that at number 7. In fact, the only other good news is that Other outperformed vege, wraps, vege wraps, and fish. Turkey-ham was nowhere on the list.

Other good news: more Americans make their sandwiches at home, schlep them to work, and eat them cold. OK, good for me but bad for restaurant owners. Packing a lunch helps stay within the monthly budget.

“Deep down, you know the truth: Any lunch you make yourself will taste 17 times better than the slimy chopped salad you’d end up buying…” Rachel Sanders wrote on Buzzfeed. Oddly, she includes the peanut butter, pickle, and potato chip sandwich but eschews (heh) turkey.

Do you think those more Americans carry a little, insulated, zippered sack or a Davy Crockett™ tin?

There are about 17,800,000 results to a search for packed lunches for adults. There are even more for kids. And not one that I surveyed mentioned packing a drink.


SWMBO and I had the turkey. And had the turkey. And had the turkey. She gave up her PB and J for Lent. And we had turkey.

Don’t get me wrong. My dad ate a ham-and-cheese sandwich most lunches on most days of his adult life but I really like turkey and I particularly like turkey sandwiches.

True, I bounce around between turkey breast or tuna, ham or sliced egg, chicken or corned beef, and turkey breast. I eat roast turkey breast when I have it. Black peppered turkey. Smoked Turkey. Honey smoked turkey. Black Forest turkey. Chipotle turkey. Cajun turkey breast. Italian herb turkey. Mesquite turkey. Deep-fried turkey. And more. I like most turkey with a slice or two of fresh Florida tomato and a slice or two of seriously sharp Vermont cheddar cheese. A dab of mayo. The bread of the day may be sourdough white, potato, oatmeal, even the honey whole wheat in the fridge right now. I had it on a light rye the other day.

Just as important is a tall, cold glass of milk. Mmmmm.

Thank goodness for PB&J, though, because peanut butter jars are a time-honored tradition for carrying drinks. A peanut butter jar is about the right size, has a lid that seals, and fits perfectly in my cooler.

Back when I did commute to the office instead of rolling down the stairs, I carried a small upright cooler. It had room for a refreezable ice, my Pepsi™ bottle, a turkey sammie, the peanut butter jar of milk, and at least a couple of cookies.

I’m thinking it must be lunchtime.


Let Them Eat Kale

You can’t tax people into eating kale. Except in Vermont.

Members of the Vermont House Ways and Means Committee are ready bring out H.235, a controversial bill to levy an excise tax of two cents on every ounce of sugared beverage distributed in the state. Sodas. Fruit drinks. Sports drinks. Flavored water. Energy drinks. Iced teas. And probably the orange juice I drink every morning. In short, any nonalcoholic beverage, carbonated or noncarbonated, that is intended for human consumption in Vermont. The bill won support in the Health Care Committee on Thursday.

The excise tax would be charged to the retail stores who would turn around and raise the price on the shelf. It’s a tax that would generate about $30 million in revenue per year for Vermont

Vermonters are debating what a sugar-sweetened-beverage tax would do. The consensus appears split between two choices:

(a) Merely increase sales of sugar-sweetened kale chips; or
(a) Drive sweet-toothed residents across state lines to New Hampshire where there is no sales tax or New York where not long ago, huge 17-ounce beverage cups were banned. And there are a lot of taxes.

Nobody surveyed thought it would change behaviors.

A bottle of fruit juice with some added sugar costs about 66 cents or 3/$2. That fruit juice would jump to about 86 cents with the tax, Vermont Retail and Grocers Association president Jim Harrison said. In some cases, the cost of your favorite fizzy beverage would about double.

Eat Mo Kale“There is no doubt their real reason is the $30 million,” my red-haired friend Caitlin Abbate said. “Bye bye BOGO.”

They’re both right. Two cents is about the retail price per ounce of a 2-liter bottle of Pepsi™ or Coke™ which tells me the members of the state Ways and Means Committee aren’t interested in fixing obesity in the state. They’re interested in the $30 million in new annual revenue. And, since sin taxes never drop (consider the taxes on cigarettes, whiskey, gasoline, and oregano), we can expect a can of pop to cost about the same as a pack of smokes in a year or two.

Even Florida’s manatees have taken up the cause. I reckon someone convinced them it will mean more free lettuce for them.

I filed a FOIA request and found a Vermont lobbying permit granted to the BORECOLE Corporation. Ban Or Eliminate Costly Oversight for Lettuce Eaters is a Florida corporation headquartered in Manatee County.

“The cost of a beverage would nearly double…”

I was able to speak to Josiah (not his real name) Bartlett about their lobbying efforts. “We believe in obesity and in re-education,” he said. “People need to be taught to consume kale-based foods in order to reduce the demands on lettuce.”

To that end, a pilot plant is already up and running right on the river in Bradenton where the first Kaola Pop is on trucks waiting for delivery. Kaola Pop is a kale-based cola with no high fructose or any other corn syrup, added sugars, honey, agave nectar, or even beet juice. It has no sweetening at all, just the natural goodness of Kale.

A spokesman for U.S. Sugar in Clewiston, Florida, welcomed Kaola Pop to the market.

“Someone convinced the manatees it will mean more free lettuce for them…”

“Manatees are so stupid,” Marie Antoinette said some years ago. “Let them eat kale.”


Not Bait. Definitely Switched

I went to Walgreens to cash in my 4,050 points against the two gallons of $4.19 milk I bought yesterday. They wouldn’t let me.

“Plenty of points. In plenty of places,” the Walgreens ads trumpet. The store’s “Balance Rewards” appear on featured items in the store fliers and online each week. They promote buying “more for healthy behavior.”

Walgreens, at the corner of Happy and Healthy chocolate barsThis week, the flier offers 1,000 points on Lindt Chocolates, 1,000 points on Schweppes seltzer water, 1,000 points on Planters winter spice or brittle nut medley, and 1,000 points on Hallmark greeting cards. Yep, healthy choices all.

“Oh, we have a policy not to redeem those points on dairy,” the manager said.

Turns out the fine print does say that points are “good on next purchase. Points are not earned if Store Credit or Redemption Dollars are used in a transaction and cannot be redeemed on some items. Complete details at”

I wondered about the policy that sells healthy chocolate and soda and nuts and greeting cards but won’t redeem them on milk, so I turned to the Interwebs.

“Due to state and federal laws, points cannot be earned on some items. Points will not be awarded to anyone who currently is or was at any time in the 6 months prior to purchasing Pharmacy Items covered by Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare or any other government-funded healthcare program. Pharmacy Items must be purchased at participating Walgreens Drugstore, Rxpress, Duane Reade, or Walgreens Pharmacy locations (“Participating Stores”) to earn points. Excludes Pharmacy Items purchased from AR, NJ or NY pharmacies and prescriptions transferred to a Participating Store located in AL, MS, OR or PR. See Balance Rewards terms and conditions for full details.” [Emphasis added]

The Terms and Conditions of the loyalty program offered by Walgreen Co. to its customers (also referred to as “the Program”) (I presume the loyalty program is referred to as “the Program,” not the customers) runs to five dense, single spaced pages of legalese. Buried near the bottom of page 3, I found this:

“Redemption Dollars may not be used for the purchase of the following: dairy; alcohol; tobacco; stamps; phone/pre-paid/gift cards; money order/transfers; transportation passes; charitable donations; prescriptions; pseudoephedrine or ephedrine products; immunizations, health tests or other healthcare items or services; Prescription Savings Club membership fee; clinic services.”

Walgreens may, of course, at any time and without notice, change, eliminate, or terminate the Point earning and redemption procedures and offerings.

I can understand that a drug store might not want to encourage discounts on booze and tobacco and would “lose” money on cash stuff like stamps, cash cards, and money order and the like. I don’t understand why a drug store “at the corner of happy and healthy” would discourage discounts on prescription, immunizations, health tests, items and services.

CVS annoys me, too, but I really wish they hadn’t left town.

“I dislike CVS,” Liz Arden said, “simply because they refuse Google Wallet and Apple Pay forms of payment. I like Walgreens because they accept Google Wallet.”

There is that, of course.

As far as I know, Walgreens does not sell bait. I feel happier and healthier already.