I buy a turkey.

Not a particularly unusual action for the late-December period, but this is on December 28th. I stare at the frozen bird, alone in the Tesco freezer, eight-and-a-half kilograms for a fiver.

This provides me with a dilemma. Having dined in the Village Pub on Christmas Day, I am in the odd and unprecedented position of not having the ingredients for a nice turkey sandwich over the New Year. A fiver is a ridiculous ridiculous price to pay for what could be dinner for the next few days. I wrestle with my conscience.

I don’t like factory farming, and the factory farming of turkey is particularly evil. Nevertheless, it is only a fiver. This will save me money, which I could give to a turkey charity if I wanted to. So really I would be performing a moral act by purchasing the bird.

This is almost moral relativism, which is a proper philosophy featuring in books. I take the turkey to the checkout, confident that Jean-Paul Sartre would have done the same. If I have a subsequent crisis of conscience I can always just defrost it then release it back into the wild.

Plus it is a Bernard Matthews bird, and I like to support local producers.

Back at the cottage, I check the packaging. There is an ‘ingredients’ list on the back. I had kind of hoped that the ‘ingredients’ list would read something like ‘ingredients: a turkey’, but there are several other useful and tasty things in there as well, and at least the ‘turkey’ part of the ingredients comes first, and is followed by a reassuring 95% number. This means that all the other soya oil, flavouring etc. weighs only about 425 grammes (which is less than a pound, for American readers) (and Tesco is a big supermarket). This seems reasonable.

I am pleased with my purchase. Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a home-cooked bird to munch on – it is as traditional as disappointing crackers and wondering why one bothered to purchase a newspaper on Boxing Day. Some home-made bread and piccalilli completes the picture. 2006 approaches, the snow falls in a picturesque fashion and James Blunt is not on the radio. A happy and wonderful New Year to you all.

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