Blog Update!
For those of you not following me on Facebook, as of the Summer of 2019 I've moved to Central WA, to a tiny mountain town of less than 1,000 people.

I will be covering my exploits here in the Cascades, as I try to further reduce my impact on the environment. With the same attitude, just at a higher altitude!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Eco-living as fodder for ridicule

I don't mind so much when family members make fun of the choices I make in order to live a little greener and lighten my carbon footprint in person, but when I found out yesterday that my acting brother-in-law had decided to use our heritage turkey purchase as a source of material for his comedy performance last night, I was a little irritated. And I'm trying to figure out why.

As much as Colin suggests that we all wear our green on our sleeves, and make a spectacle of our green choices, there's a distinct reason why many of us hide our "alternative" choices. It's the fear of ridicule. Not everyone is open-minded and anything that goes against the status quo is definitely fodder for comedy. But why is that?

Partly because making fun of things that we don't do make us feel better about our choices. Partly because we are repulsed or don't understand other people's choices. And, partly because it helps assuage the guilt that maybe people are doing things that we all should be doing and aren't.

However, why is buying a heritage turkey humorous? The concept of writing letters to the bird being raised for eventual slaughter can be ascribed a bit of humor if done properly (and I have no doubts that it was). Yet, if buying a conventionally raised, possibly tortured turkey or even a free-range organic turkey is not at all funny, why is going just one step further considered worthy of a joke? Because it seems so extreme that someone would bother being concerned about the life of a turkey?

Maybe I'm being paranoid, but I'm wondering what else in my life was going to be ridiculed. I know there's plenty to choose from - I certainly make them public for your reading enjoyment. But mostly I feel safe because the audience is more or less accepting of new ideas.

So, if non-mainstream environmental ideas are to one day become mainstream behavior, how do we cross that barrier without losing ourselves in the process? I guess the best we can do is to wait it out until seemingly foreign ideas eventually turn into common-sense.

How much do you suffer at the hands of non-environmental friends and relatives?


Erika said...

My husband calls much of what I am striving for, "extremism." Apparently, he secretly thinks a bunch of the changes I'm trying to make are "cool" (as per recent admission), but sometimes, he'll say some downright mean things about what I do in the name of the future. Just a recent example: I haven't turned our heat on this year (I live 'bout 1.5 hrs. N of Seattle), and it's coldest in our house in the morning, the coldest I've seen our living room was 55, but once the blinds are opened and the sun comes in, the temp quickly rises to 60ish. So, I come home one evening, DH is sitting in the living room (using computer) in shorts, an old tee, wet hair, no socks. He tells me it is just too cold in here and the heat MUST be turned on, because I am insane to not turn it on and he's tired of living like we're in a 3rd world country (he's much more eloquent than I am). EXCUSE ME, MISTER... PUT SOME FREAKING CLOTHES ON, DRY YOUR HAIR, AND MOVE AROUND; and you'll thank me when we ARE a third world country and WE are warm in our house 'cause of all the things we are (I am?) sacrificing, learning, and striving for NOW. GRRRR... I really do love my DH!


Jen said...

"I would rather have my people laugh at my economies than weep for my extravagance."
- King Oscar of Sweden

I read this in the Tightwad Gazette several years ago and have always remembered it. Jen

Anderson Family said...

This is America, and our arrogance makes us think the it's our right to do whatever we want. We often get ridiculed because then *they* can justify their earth destroying ways and not have to feel guilty about them. Ignorance is bliss. Once you start learning about some of the reprocussions of your choices, if you don't change, you feel guilt - unless you just don't have a heart.

Two Flights Down said...

Humor is a way of releasing tension from things that, when dealt with in a serious manner, make us uncomfortable. Some are uncomfortable with the fact that their lifestyle could be stripping down necessities for future generations. Rather than address the problem, it's taken out either in hostility or humor. Sad, but true.

camp mom said...

I get it alot from friends and family. But the way I figure more often than not that my family and friends love me and like me enough to stick around. because in the long run they know I have alot of ammo on them if I really wanted to use it. Or if they piss me off badly enough. Which so far no one has. If they really bother me I turn the heat down even lower before they arrive..then they shiver to much to poke fun at me. Some don't bother coming back til spring.

I think when people think about enviromental issues it's scary. Before I converted a few of the teasing friends over to the green side they said it seemed way to much hassle to do. Or it seemd expensive.

But since converting a few to this or that, well they see its not really a hassle, it took time for whatever they were changng to become habit and to see its benifit.

And no I definately don't go around wearing my green attitude on my sleeve like colin would like us to either. I'm saving my really "weird" green behavior for my family and friends.

Anonymous said...

Look at it this way: at the same time he's mocking you, your brother-in-law is opening his audience's eyes to the existence of your choices and helping to mainstream them. I'd lay good odds that most of the people in comedy clubs have (sadly) never even thought about buying local or looking for heritage breeds.

Amaya 5 said...

What we don't understand we either fear or worship. Apparently he has some fear. With some education it can become respect. Sometimes it takes the right vessel to deliver the education. I've had my family mock me for the last 20 years, since I was a teenager and they thought "I didn't know better". While sadly it's taken 20 years, but thankfully they are coming around and there is more respect, understanding and even some action.

Anonymous said...

I'm old enough to remember when granola, yoghurt and tofu were considered weird, commie pinko hippie foods. Oh, and you can add brown rice to that list as well.
Family and others had entire monologues about them, some bordering on angry rants.
Now you can buy all of them in local Mom and Pop stores and chain supermarkets.
Sit tight and keep on keepin' on....Your choices will eventually no longer be new and threatening and actually start to make money for the community...then youwill see have it really was their idea after all!!!

Anonymous said...

My husband and his father think I'm more than a bit crazy. One of the things I do is run a local fruit CSA. As part of the winter fruit CSA, members will receive jam with their storage apples and frozen berries (and cider, and honey, etc). Because jam is a delicious and effective way to preserve summer fruit. One night, after they had a particularly obnoxious phone conversation, I sat my husband down and explained that our dining room is stacked high with jam (and other canned goods) because they will feed FIFTY FAMILIES this winter. He suddenly didn't think the stacks of jars were quite as funny as before.

In general, I do get some derisive laughs (a LOT of laughs from the 10 year old girls at my daughter's ballet school) but more often, people assume that we're poor. I enjoy snickering at that because, frankly, I probably have more cash in the bank than they do as a direct result of growing my own food and wearing second-hand clothes than my friends who order everything new, get their hair highlighted twice/month, and spend $400 a trip at the grocery store.

Judy T said...

I get odd looks and comments a lot as well. People seem to think I am quite insane to walk to work year round (1.3 miles each way in Iowa) or that I shell out 'big bucks' for free range or pastured meat.
When one friend commented on the expense of the chicken I was buying my response was to tell her that the expense made us appreciate it more and not fall into the American habit of eating too much meat. I detailed the 5 meals that we would get from that chicken when used wisely, and commented that the expense to me isn't any more than she spends at the grocery store and the expense to the world is much less. She shut up and didn't volunteer to come to the farmer's market with me again. At least she is still a friend.
I agree with what several others have said: what we don't understand makes us uncomfortable. One way people cope with uncomfortable situations is to laugh at it. Hold tight and they will eventually either understand- or not.

Chile said...

Since someone brought up Tightwad Gazette, what has always stuck with me from her first book is something she said in the Intro. She was watching Oprah because the guests were super-frugal. Apparently everyone in the audience was making fun of what these folks were doing, but Amy (the book's auther) said she took notes.

Anything not in the mainstream is subject to ridicule, Crunchy. I've experienced it often...with my dietary choices, for example. Continue doing what works best for you and hope that maybe a few people in the mainstream aren't laughing; they're taking notes.

Anonymous said...

I know where you're coming from, but my first thought was along the same lines as Deborah's comment. Maybe a couple of people in the audience went home and researched "heritage turkey" and this is the beginning of a few more eco-friendly lives.

My dad ridiculed me for wanting to teach my young son "Baby Signs" before he could talk. He said it would interfere with his learning to talk, etc. But when Tyler first started signing to Grandpa, my father LOVED it. He actually said, "I thought this was ridiculous but now I think it is the best thing ever."

So share some delicious turkey with your brother-in-law and maybe he'll soon be telling the audience how great it is.

Farmer's Daughter said...

My mom is very supportive of my environmentally friendly choices and is also on a quest to do the same. My dad sees it as "going back" to how our ancestors lived, which he supports. My in-laws are like-minded as well.
Mostly, when I get ridiculed, it's by my brothers for not doing enough. They say my house is too big (which it is...), my car doesn't get good enough gas mileage (which it doesn't...), or something else to that effect.
I do, however, feel like I have to pick and choose what I share. I don't want to appear too extreme to my students, because I want to be a role model. So I may mention that I don't use a blowdryer for my hair, but I may leave out other personal hygeine things. In fact, I had a great conversation the other day with a group of girls about "Freeze Yer Buns" and how all of our houses were chilly this time of year. I also had a great conversation with a couple of kids who had moved from different countries and live much more sustainable lives because of the cultures they grew up in. I think it's important to discuss things in a non-judgemental way, and also be a role model for my students.

My whole family knows about my blog, as do my friends and some of my colleagues. They're all supportive, even if they think some of the things I do are crazy, which of course they are! But I have had many people tell me if hard times hit, they're coming to live with me because I'm prepared!

Maybe it's the fact that my husband and I both come from old-fashioned families, but someone like your BIL would be the one ridiculed around here... Which is not right but that's the way it is.

I think it's important to share information about our lives in a non-judgemental way, not like "I'm saving the earth and you're not." I think when people make fun of us, it's because they need to feel better about the fact they're destroying the earth.

Greenpa said...

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

Mahatma Gandhi, who knew as much as anyone does about getting people to change paths.

So from that standpoint- the laughing is progress. They're not ignoring you anymore- and they were. Erika is experiencing some of the next level- her husband is fighting, a bit.

Doing this for 32 years so far, I'm way past worrying about ridicule. It doesn't affect me at all. I just smile and nod at them- which usually pisses them off more than anything else you could do; and tends to imply to those watching that you are secure in your beliefs. Which can make them think.

I am, nonetheless, never in peoples' faces about my life choices. Not at all because I fear ridicule, but for 2 reasons;

a) I really do not have time to waste arguing with fools; and:

2) in my own neighborhood I think the conversation is not ready for any confrontational styles- they would be counterproductive, more often than not, hardening attitudes, not opening minds.

I just live my life.

Now. A $90 turkey is kind of- funny. To the extent you want to explain it to anyone; you were intentionally supporting local entrepreneurs; and, just like the Big Boys; you were invested in a Turkey Hedge Fund. And just like the boys on Wall Street, the economy went south, since you made your hedge. You invested in a platinum grade turkey, but the market for platinum turkeys has now collapsed; just like everything else.

No shame in that! Ask them how their 401K is doing. That will shut them up, I guarantee.

Green Bean said...

I think part of it is education - learning what can and cannot make a difference. I'll say that most of my extended family think I'm bonkers. Why? Because I line dry my clothes and cut my electricity bill in half? Because we enjoy delicious, pesticide free produce grown by local farmers instead of Cheez-its and Dominos pizza? My mom is constantly begging me to have my children watch more TV (they do watch some) and introduce them to video games (they are almost 4 and 6 yrs old!).

I don't know why living a bit differently, a bit more meaningfully is fodder for those who live the mainstream life but it apparently is. I will say that my husband initially thought I was crazy too. Now, he's talking about building a chicken coop for the spring and ripping out the backyard lawn for veggies. Maybe craziness rubs off.

Greenpa said...

ooooo. I just had this flash.

Your acting brother-in-law (! my guess is you mean your sister's live-in boyfriend?) is doing his comedy act- the audience is laughing at this hilarious $90 turkey -

And this gorgeous 6' tall woman jumps up on stage, and grabs the mike from him- laughing and hollering: "Equal time! I demand equal time!" -

And then you retaliate with just a couple good shots about "consumers" -

If anybody could do it, Feisty, you could.

Oh, you gotta. :-) We know you have the sense of humor.

Maeve said...

I horrified some people by mentioning that we have been putting our heat down to the mid 50s at night, and 64 day. I said well... at night you're under a pile of blankets sleeping, so why does the house need to be extra warm? And during the day, well that is what warm socks and wool sweaters are for. And no, the kids aren't too cold at 64, in fact, one of them is STILL taking off his clothes, and I figure I'll know if it's too cold when he starts adding clothes instead of removing them.

Apparently most people keep their homes at 75-80!! I didn't keep my house that warm even before Freeze Yer Buns.

So, it's not Turkey Ridicule, but I've experienced some of that "are you CRAZY?!" vibe.

I do think the phrase "$95 for a turkey" is .... well, it comes across as crazy. There's just no way to mince that. When the average turkey cost is going to be between $30 and $50, $95 does look pretty extreme.

I've been horrifying people in another way this year, I've been saying things like "why do you have to have a turkey?" Seriously, though, why is a holiday meal that is supposed to be about being thankful for the food you actually have, co-opted by going out of one's way to purchase foods one doesn't normally have? How many of us have a turkey out back we can dispatch for dinner? Or neighbors with a few extra birds? It's not just the manner in which turkeys are raised that I have been looking at, but why we are eating them at all.

That said, if I can find one, (I forgot to put in an order earlier this year), I will purchase a locally raised turkey, because I want to support local food growers. I'm sure it will cost me more than the 'big box store' sale price of $1.69 per pound.

Greenpa said...

"Before we ate that turkey, I was only 5'3"."

badump bump.

"My two kids cleaned up their turkey, went out and converted their schoobus to a hydrogen-electric hybrid."

"Meanwhile, the couch potato here- cleaned up his 4 pounds of Con Agra styrofoam - and passed out in his semi-annual tryptophan coma."

"We shaved his head, while he was passed out. But he didn't notice." (or something, aimed at his actual appearance.)

"You can probably tell from his jokes here- he's still in the coma."

"Ok, I gotta run. We're pit-barbecuing a free-range local bison this afternoon, and I need to baste."

You get the idea. :-)

Anonymous said...

I've been been off the cc grid for a while, but this caused me to comment. First off, f-ing jackass. Secondly, you have inspired me to do many things that I would not have even thought of on my own... diva cup, cloth wipes, reading by candlelight, making my own yogurt, etc. I tell my friends proudly what I'm doing and if they say something negative I just turn the tables and say I can't believe you're NOT doing (insert whatever they made fun of) and make them feel like the ass. Hmm, I wonder why my friendship circle is dwindling...

Anonymous said...

I have seen so many changes in people's attitudes over the years!

Recently, I have traveled to visit my my aging parents often due to their declining health. For 30 years or so, they have looked at me at the kind of strange one in the family - who just kept getting stranger. They thought I was a total fool for paying more than I had to for fairly traded and local goods; they rolled their eyes at my refusal to spray the bugs on my veggies or shop at the farmers market from local folks. They couldn't imagine why I would ride my bike if I owned a car. My mom even gave me grief for breastfeeding my babies (whom she thought must be starving!).

But now... many years down the road and in a place where they are looking back at their own lives, they have told me several times how much they appreciate the "intentionality" of the way we have tried to live, how far "ahead" of them I was. Which is just an unbelievable thing to come from my very harshest critics over the years.

They aren't the only ones. So many things that were an oddity thirty years ago are quite mainstream and appreciated these days. And they wouldn't be if a minority of folks hadn't decided to forge ahead. I'm fifty now, and one thing I would really like to tell younger people who are forging new ground is that if it comes with the cost, often, of making you seem a little "out there," it's because you are - in a good way. Do what you think is right, take the ridicule with a knowing smile. Time will tell.

EcoBurban said...

My extended family complains my house is too cold and I should hand sweaters out at the door if I want any one to stay for more than 5 minutes. They are freaked out about my funky eggs and raw cheese. (Eeewww, don't you think you're gonna get sick? Like salmonella???)

But, when everyone is freaking out thinking their store bought lettuce, tomatoes, meat or bread is part of a recall list, or the cost of their energy bill is through the roof...

I sit back and relax. I know where my food comes from, I know how little my electric bill will be and most of all I am raising boys who tesae the heck out of their friends for NOT recycling or NOT bringing a reusable lunch bag! The tables are turning! The younger generation is getting it right.

Crunchy Chicken said...

Greenpa - I'm pretty sure that he doesn't know the cost since we just found out how much it was last weekend and I think the jokes were written based on a conversation back in August. So the humor is unrelated to cost as far as I know (I don't know what the actual jokes were).

The show is going on in NYC so I won't be seeing it anytime. And, for the record, I have a tremendous amount of respect for my BIL.

BTW, he's a strict vegetarian.

Greenpa said...

Crunch- details, details! Ah, well, it was a fun fantasy while it lasted. I could see it.

Would be interesting to know what he actually said.

And, I'd bet he has plenty of respect for you, too- but that doesn't mean you can't joke and poke fun - like he's doing. :-)

Greenpa said...

or... you could authorize an official Crunchy Disciple from NY to jump up on stage... or maybe Sharon would do it...


May said...

Well, lots of people think I'm pretty crazy, especially most of my family. I just grit my teeth and bear it since I can't change their perceptions. They don't even believe global warming is real. It's pretty bad.

Anonymous said...

Um, it's funny except that the heritage turkey I had last year was the. best. meal. I. have. ever. had. My sister and I will n e v e r stop talking about it and the wonder we experienced over our holiday. Enjoy!


Kristijoy said...

I have never experienced ridicule for my choices. I mean I grew up ridiculed for being the weird kid so, maybe nothing really phases me anymore.
Of course my family is also laid back and accepting and I live in a place where I am more mainstream that eccentric. Or maybe it because the eccentric is mainstream here. (Portland how I love thee.)
If someone did mock me I think I'd just dress them down. I don;t have time for juvinle behavior for people.

Nothing is free from being made fun of however. Anything can be a joke. Everything is fair game. That's the nature of comedy. It's also why I don;t really LIKE comedy. I don;t get the fun of mocking people, but it's been around as long as we have it has some cathartic value to many.

Gretchen said...

I get what you're saying. Some days, I worry that people will ridicule my choices (whatever they may be) and I get a bit defensive. Other days, I guess my skin is a little thicker that day and I just say, "Eh, whatever. They are just jerks." and I let it go. I wish I had that thick skin all the time, but just human nature - I'm vulnerable to their words sometimes.

TDP said...

Hey, if the guy is getting paid to tell these jokes maybe you should be getting a cut?

When you listen to a comedy routine most jokes have a bit of truth in them. That bit of truth lets us all look at ourselves and others in an accepting way - its not about ridicule at all, just observations about the odd things people do in life. If it was "normal" and "mainstream" it wouldn't be funny, it would be boring. To have a good joke you need to compare one thing to another, even if its just comparing assumptions.

I say that he's complementing you by using what he observes you doing as a source of humor. You're his muse! (Again, I say cold cash is due!)

I have always had an odd appearance, and have a penchant for wearing items of clothing that most people don't consider mainstream (capes, ponchos, things like that.) I have noticed people actually taking pictures of me with their camera phone as I walk by!And also see them busting out laughing or trying hard to suppress a giggle. I just tell myself "I'm so glad I gave someone an opportunity to laugh today. Life without laughter is just no fun!" My range of what I see as an acceptable appearance is broader than the mainstream (though alot of High Fashion runway stuff looks ridiculous to me!)

About stuff like keeping the thermostat low or not driving my car much - I get called frugal but not crazy. These days more people are asking to know more!

TDP said...

Oh, one more thing.
You just said to Greenpa that your a BIL is a vegetarian.

I think that if someone is a "committed" vegetarian then they may possibly believe anyone spending money on meat at all is crazy. Then the idea of going out of one's way to special order five months ahead a special breed of bird for more money then is the norm probably warps their mind twenty fold. I bet he's coming from his vegetarian mindset when first finding the humor (or ridicule) in your action. But then again, he probably gets his share of ridicule for his vegetarianism in this country of steakhouses.

Chile said...

I'm a pretty committed strict vegetarian yet I spent two hours yesterday at the CSA getting turkeys for the members who'd ordered them months ago. If people choose to eat animal products, local, free-range, and organically raised is the best choice.

BTW, my muscles are sore today after slingin' a bunch of 20 pound turkeys around!

mudnessa said...

i recently put a little rant on my blog about the holiday season and how it brings shame into my life that i shouldnt have because i have to act all nice when relatives get me bottles of lotion and other girly things i have no need or use for. its moslty because i dont tell anyone what i do because of the ridicule factor.

i honestly don't share what i do with a lot of friends, no one actually knows all i do. obviously my husband knows a lot but im not sure he has caught on to me using cloth wipes and i know there is no way he would do it. and im pretty sure he would roll his eyes at me but then i would just come back with the, we havent bought tp in quite a few months and thats with you not even changing your habits. he thankfully gets it all but is a bit more reluctant to change some things.

hoorayparade said...

i have friends that think it is funny to do thing to specifically counteract what i do.
it frustrates me but i just hope they'll come around eventually.

Crunchy Domestic Goddess said...

i love that gandhi quote, greenpa, and will have to remember it because i'm sure it's going to come in handy on my blog in the near future. thank you.

TDP said...

Chili -

I hear that eating fresh pineapple will help remove that lactic acid that make muscles sore. Try some pineapple, it might help.

cheflovesbeer said...

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
Yes I know Greenpa beat me to it. But he is right. You are not be ignored. Some are laughing some are fighting, some day you will win. I'm not saying it will be easy or soon. But keep up the good fight! Have fun, enjoy that bird.

Allie said...

I get it a lot for my love of wild foods, and my current obsession with preserving things. Additionally because I never throw away glass/plastic containers.

I just don't really care if people give me flak. Everyone I know benefits from these obsessions, as I am a big fan of sharing food. Eventually, one by one, people start realising that what I'm doing might be a little abnormal, but it's working for me.

My boyfriend used to rib me a bit, but when I don't want to spend two days making chili or meat sauce and he can just pop the lid off the jar, he sees the appeal. Additionally, during Ike (where we were w/o water), he understood the value in me having stockpiled all those containers. And he's been shockingly sweet about the no heater challenge. He is currently playing video games while wrapped up in a blanket, w/o a word of complaint.

To be fair, I don't partake in green activities due to concern for the environment. My opinion, while unpopular and controversial, is that the Earth will be fine - it's humans who won't make it if we don't get our act together. I partake in green activities due to their cost benefits.

- Local foods are cheaper (meat excepted, though the quality makes up for the cost, and we eat very little meat anyway), they taste better and their nutritional profile is better.
- Turning off the heater keeps the gas bill down.
- Reusing the glass and plastic containers other products come in keeps me from having to buy new containers. I get a stupid amount of use out of them. Not only for storing things, weathering natural disasters, and general transport, but also they are perfect for sending people home with leftovers or bringing people homemade foods. They also save cash on Ziplock bags.
- Making homemade stock from veggie scraps (and sometimes bones) saves me an average of 250 dollars a year. My high quality artisan breads cost me under 50 cents/loaf, as opposed to $5/loaf.
- Washing my hair with vinegar costs me 5 cents per wash.
- Cleaning my house with baking soda and vinegar is more effective, and stupidly cheaper than having a different cleaner for every product.
-Buying seasonal food is less expensive. Preserving it saves you money down the road, as you buy in large quantities when it's cheap and eat when it's expensive.

And so on.

While your turkey is certainly not a good example of cost effectiveness, perhaps one means of reducing the ribbing you get would be to emphasise to your less-than-understanding family members just how much money you save. Many people may not be able to get past their fears related to the environment. They might not be able to get past what appears to be fanaticism over something "intangible" (which, for the record, is not how I see you). But something EVERYONE understands, particularly given the current economic trends, is saving money.

I know it misses the point in some ways, since your goal is also to facilitate environmental awareness. But if they don't care about green, hit them where it WILL matter - in the wallet.

Sorry to be so long-winded.

The Crone at Wits End said...

Oh Crunchy, try being married to an Economic Rationalist! My Husband pokes fun at me all the time and we have so many ideologically opposed ideas it's not funny :(

He sees a patch of green and visualises a block of flats towering there. I secretly hope that Peak Oil hits with a bang so that his beliefs are rocked to the core!

You know what, your BIL taking the p*ss about your Turkey buying habits could have been worse; he could have broadcast your Golden Showers Challenge ;)

Anonymous said...

Hi Crunchy,
Yes, about the high price of your turkey - here is a little perspective. Well, here in France, I don't even know where you would get a turkey at Thanksgiving time, except at the butcher, which is of course the most expensive place to go. A few years ago, we did Thanksgiving dinner for 20 or so, and got two small turkeys - about 14 kilos total, or 30 pounds. The bill came to 130 Euros. That's in Euros. I never converted it to dollars, because already in Euros it was making me blanch.

I don't know if it was the same as a heritage turkey, but it definitely came from some special region in France and had a decent turkey's life (the butcher went on about the details in a fashion that assumed I knew what he was talking about, so of course I didn't want to admit not being familiar with all the history and culture behind whatever breed of turkey this was).

Well, everyone raved about the turkeys, including the born-and-bred French guests, and with the leftovers, we must have made meals to feed 20 several times over. I finally decided that the per meal cost was actually close to 1 or 2 Euros. And why shouldn't a turkey meal be costing that?

So turkey is a rare and special event in our house. Although when we called my mother-in-law and got to hear about the 20 dollars it cost her for a huge Butterball turkey... Grit your teeth, and just remember what that turkey has been through....

Happy Thanksgiving!

Kelsie said...

My mother told my grandmother I was making a pumpkin pie from scratch this Thanksgiving and bringing it to the family dinner.

Grandma: "Oh! That'll be wonderful!"
Mom: "And she grew the pumpkin herself!"
Grandma: *crickets*..."But won't that know...not very good?"
Mom: "As opposed to pumpkin from a can?"
Mom: "And where do you think canned pumpkin comes from?"

Le sigh. Apparently my aunt also had the same reaction.

Hopefully, when they taste my pie, lovingly hand-crafted from a French heirloom pumpkin I started from seed and showered affection on all summer...they'll feel differently. I, at least, know that I feel fantastic. :)

knutty knitter said...

Ridicule doesn't happen round here much - we're all poor hippie types anyway and have been forever. I don't hide or broadcast much unless someone asks. I did broadcast some about the baking soda hair wash and once I proved to the family that it worked a few have followed me.

We don't have a tradition of turkey in our house (Not American here) but there has been a tradition of the Christmas turkey. We never did though because my father hated turkey and chicken so it was mostly roast hogget (sheep) with mint sauce and roast veges and fresh peas served raw in glasses.

It still is and sometimes we get lucky and its roast wild pork (some of the boys are into hunting). The only real tradition we have kept is the boiled plum pudding with raspberry brandy sauce and unadulterated whipped cream (no additive sugar or anything else - we like our cream pure and home made).

The puddings are hanging in my mother's conservatory drying right now. Yay. They will be nice and mature for the day ready for reboiling.

viv in nz

Robj98168 said...

I just look at them and reminf them how many times I am proven right. Then remind them how many of them are proven wrong. Good thing I have a sense of humor, because most of my family thinks anything like switching to CFL's is ridiculous, even when I show them that CFL's save $$$. Then I chuckle as the slowly copy what I do. Last year, a few snide comments about the crhistmas presents that came in canvass bags, but now suddenly They are all having to take their own bags to the store.
I say take it with a grain of salt- They will have to adjust their living habits, while You and I and our own households are already adjusted! Blessed be the meek cause we get to give a big old raspberry to those who aint!

Anonymous said...

Thankfully my husband and I are very much on the same page when it comes to lifestyle choices. We have lived this way since we were first together but I admit that I tend to be rather reticent with people I don't know well.

It has led to a couple of moments when I have really wished I had been a little more outspoken about my beliefs.
Before we lived in the larger town, we lived in a small town where people apparently paid a lot more attention to what I was wearing and driving than I thought.

I will never forget my mortification the day the school nurse came out to my car carrying one of the Thanksgiving "care packages" put together for really low-income people at the school. She just assumed that our lack of material goods and purchasing habits were a result of extreme poverty and that we needed the help. I have had more of these types of experiences since we moved to a larger city. It has been very rough on my teen-aged girls, lately.

J.G. said...

Anyone who acts or thinks outside the mainstream is going to be ridiculed at some point. Unfortunately, I think that people sometimes mock what they cannot understand. A good way to combat this (after taking a few moments to rise above your anger) is to try to educate the person who is being insensitive about the matter at hand; perhaps once he understands the issue, he will not find it so funny.

Anonymous said...

Awesome! I would love to be entered.

Anonymous said...

A fine yummy heritage turkey at $90 or so sounds like an excellent investment in holiday cheer. I know the turkey will be leftovers and then soup stock, bringing the cost down to something more modest.

I'm getting a "naturally raised" goose, which will be at least $50. The rest of the festive meal will be home baked or out of of the garden, so the total will be quite low compared to a typical supermarket Thanksgiving.

Hi Erika, We must be in the same corner of the continent.

Shira in Bellingham, WA

JessTrev said...

I think my brother ridicules me for a couple reasons: 1)He wants me to lighten up (we are a pretty self deprecating family and launching into a dissertation about grass fed beef or heritage turkeys is, ah, out of place) and/or he thinks I am judging him; or 2)He worries that my kids won't have any fun since they aren't gobbling giant boxes of sugared cereals. No one else ridicules me (to my face anyways) besides my family. I think families are able to say out loud what (more mainstream) others might think when they hear about your eco-ideas. I think it's an initial reaction and once yr BIL gets beyond it, he might learn from you. Or not. (It sucks to be laughed at. I'm sorry you have to deal with that, and so publicly.) But I think either way, living in fear of ridicule is not worth doing. No matter what path you take, there will be naysayers. I think as much as possible I strive to not be holier than thou *precisely* because it can make ppl feel judged. That's why I love your sense of humor so much! I never feel that way when I read yr blog even though you're light years ahead of me in terms of living lightly. So...I'm with Greenpa - roast his arse (or, since he's a veggie, the CAFO-turkey eating average Joe) back. You're definitely witty enough to pull it off.

Anonymous said...

i for one applaud your efforts. and i wish i had a local HERITAGE farm in my local-zone, just plain old organic, local for me.

Anonymous said...

I got to thinking about turkey ridicule. Having a close personal relationship with your Thanksgiving meal is in no way unreasonable, just unfamiliar to many people.
One year, we went out to a friend of a friend's to pick up the turkey and found the turkey still walking around. As we waited for our hostess to get caught up, sweetie started talking to our turkey and bonding with her. I dragged him off and drove him into town for a cup of coffee and a cinnamon roll before he could get too emotionally involved with lunch. When we came back, the turkey was in the cooler, familiarly wrapped up in plastic film.
I like happy food. I like to support small producers who are willing to raise and process happy food despite the vast number of regulations that make it nearly impossible. I am willing to pay a fair price for the work and considerable aggravation involved and cut my grocery budget some where else. This turns out to be not much of a challenge. By cutting out the processed food, my family can eat happy meat and organic vegetables and still have the overall budget come out on the low side of average.

--Shira in Bellingham, WA

Anonymous said...

I find the fact that factory-raised turkeys have to be artifically inseminated because they are too fat to make baby turkeys the old-fashioned way MUCH funnier* than a $95 heritage turkey. Maybe he should put some of that in his routine.

*in a sad kind of way, of course.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Stephany, me too - we got a free coat this fall from my son's daycare, because we live in a working-class neighborhood and the center director hooks the kids up with all sorts of stuff.

(He's going to wear the coat, as soon as he grows into it, and we're getting a(nother) new coat for an Angel Tree kid.)

The crazy thing is, we make the same kind of money as families that live in much more affluent neighborhoods, but even with our frugality (one car, no foreign travel, used clothes) we can't quite make our savings/charitable giving goals. I don't know how the consumerists get by, with their higher bills.

Allie said...

Oh, I get called names quite a bit. The latest is that my SIL calls me a socialist and blames me personally for the country's inevitable trip "to hell in a handbasket." But that's more because of my political choices than my green ones (although my political choices are green ones). I get a lot of eye rolling too, like when I talk about parabens, or petroleum products. It's annoying. I only mention it to people I care about because I care about them and want them to do their best to stay healthy.

Lisa Nelsen-Woods said...

First of all, take a set back and take a look at some of the stuff we do - it IS funny. I recently cleaned dog vomit slime mold (yes that's the real name of it) out of my compost bin - comedy gold!

In fact, I make fun of myself or how well (or not well) my projects go all the time on my blog. Sometimes humor is a good way to get people to at least listen and may later accept your not mainstream or kind of off the wall ideas.

Actually I'm grateful for the non-eco folks in my life that may make fun of some of my ways because they keep me grounded and sane. They also make me realize that sometimes they want to do the right thing like recycle but don't have access to the same resources i have by living in a large city. They make me realize that we can all live a greener life but there's more than one way to do it. We don't all have to do everything the same to live green.

Robbie said...

If getting a "good grief" when I realized I'd forgotten my shopping bags on black Friday is the worst that happened to me, I'm doing ok.

Sharlene said...

People ridicule things that are different from the mainstream because they don't understand them. I say who cares? Let them ridicule. People can think I am some hippy dippy because of my choices and I can feel really good about my choices nonetheless.