Those frozen turkeys on display at local supermarkets can give sticker shock. A 10-kilo bird imported from the United States can run 30,000 colons or more than $55.
That may seem outrageous to expats used to the U.S. supermarket loss leaders at Thanksgiving where turkeys may go for 10 cents a pound. But the Thanksgiving crowd is not big enough here for Mas x Menos to cater to their needs.
Sometimes PriceSmart offers deals on turkeys, but the word is that the firm has fewer birds on order this year, even though a turkey dinner is featured on the cover of the Christmas catalogue.
In fact, that there are turkeys at all is an improvement from the days when cranberry sauce in cans had to be smuggled in. Now both kinds of sauce are available locally along with stuffing mixes designed for the taste of turkeys. Both the sauce and a box of the Stove Top variety of stuffing cost about $3 each.
U.S. financial sources report that the current price for a pound of turkey in an urban store is $1.67 a pound. That’s $3.57 a kilo. So one should be prepared to pay $35.70 in the United States for a 10-kilo Butterball.
Stateside shoppers also have the advantage of Butterball coupons and tie-in deals online.
Frozen Butterball turkey breasts go for 6,000 colons a kilo in the major supermarkets here. That’s about $11 a kilo, but there are no bones. There also is no dark meat, which some prefer. A two-kilo breast should be enough for eight person.
Locally raised turkeys are available in Costa
Rica, too, but newspaper staffers have found them to have less meat than the commercial U.S. varieties.
Although turkey is traditional for Thanksgiving and on some Christmas tables, expats may balk at the $20 to $30 premium to obtain one here. Then there is the sales tax at checkout. There are a lot of alternatives with foods readily available here.
The most obvious is chicken, the Costa Rican mainstay. Those who want to break the mold can opt for fish.
The Universidad Técnica Nacional held a three-day event in Atenas over the weekend to promote the consumption of goat and lamb.
A pork roast also can be traditional holiday fare.
Some restaurants after seeking the expat trade with a traditional Thanksgiving spread. That’s one way to avoid leftovers.
Since Costa Rica does not recognize the day as a legal holiday, some expats who work have to push off their big dinner until the weekend.