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Do you REALLY not want to cook on T Day?

pikawicca Nov 13, 2008 06:45 PM

I would rather eat out. There is a very fine restaurant in our town offering a very tasty Thanksgiving menu. I'm all for it. My family, however, extols the virtues of the home-cooked meal, and inviting many "Thanksgiving orphans" who have no place else to go. Am I a grinch for not wanting to spend a week cooking and cleaning for strangers?

  1. r
    RGC1982 Nov 18, 2008 09:25 AM

    We have eaten out when things were just too busy at work and I didn''t feel up to it, and I enjoyed it as much as any home cooked meal. Why? Because I am the cook, and this is not an ordinary meal in terms of level of effort. For once, I wasn't exhausted and trying to smile even though my feet hurt, versus receving all of the compliments that my grateful guests usually lavish. My guests all said that they preferred to eat at home, and missed the leftovers, but I might add that NONE of them, except my young daughter, would ever offer any meaningful help, even with the cleanup. (Old people and men, for the most part). I think I actually had some help when I was pregnant...oh well, that was then.

    It probably is more fun to have everyone at my house, because there are lots of interesting things to talk about after dinner (and those desserts), and lingering at the table is an option, but I would recommend a nice restaurant for anyone who thinks that the energy to do it just won't be there -- for whatever reason. It can still be lovely. And don't feel guilty if eating out is your preference when cooking, serving and cleanup falls mostly (or solely) on you.

    1 Reply
    1. re: RGC1982
      j
      Janet from Richmond Nov 18, 2008 09:39 AM

      Exactly. Very well said.

    2. soapstix1 Nov 18, 2008 08:30 AM

      I have never, to my recollection, ate out on any Holiday, except once. It was so memorable that I don't remember what Holiday it was. :) Many years have passed when there were dinners at my Mom's, my Mother In Law's, and our home. After our parents passed, we had dinners with my husbands family, or our house. I have one sibling out of state. My husband passed away Feb 2005. Since then, I really could care less about the Holidays. I can't say all of it is because of my husband's death, because it had become a big job, if it was at your home. Now, I am not ask to join my in laws. All of our parents are gone, and there are only 3 siblings left, so they are eating out or out of town. I have invitations to at least two non-relatives homes, but that would leave my single son with no place to go. I also have guardianship of two(girl 2, boy 3) great grandchildren (who's mom will see them on the Holidays) and don't really feel the need to cook for them. I would just love to rest the Holidays away. Grinch, or no grinch, I am just tired.

      1. Deenso Nov 17, 2008 05:53 AM

        No, you're not a grinch. I have, with one exception, avoided preparing Thanksgiving Dinner for the family for as long as I've been married - going on 38 years. We always manage to get ourselves invited to someone else's celebration: my mother's, of course, while she was still around, then other family and friends. I'd always contribute something - pies, cranberry/pear relish, whatever. But the best way to avoid even that is to go out of town; out of the country is even better. Thus, we're headed to Paris next week.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Deenso
          pikawicca Nov 17, 2008 01:27 PM

          I like your solution a lot. Bon voyage!

        2. m
          MattInNJ Nov 17, 2008 05:16 AM

          I am not the main person that cooks on TDay, but I play a good 2nd fiddle to my mother. I think spending the day cooking and getting half cocked on wine is half the fun.

          1. f
            filth Nov 15, 2008 03:51 PM

            The traditional Thanksgiving dinner is not worth the bother from the gustatory perspective.

            It is fairly labor intensive and, even well executed, is "meh" in taste.

            It is only worth doing as tradition.

            Otherwise, feed me Thai, Mexican, Italian, or Japanese.

            7 Replies
            1. re: filth
              flourgirl Nov 16, 2008 06:59 AM

              I don't know what you've been eating for Thanksgiving dinner, but I can assure you that the Thanksgiving dinner prepared by my family is anything but "meh".

              1. re: flourgirl
                j
                Janet from Richmond Nov 17, 2008 03:45 AM

                I'm with filth, I am no fan of the meal...I think roasted turkey is one of the world's most overrated foods. The only thing I look forward to is the dressing.

                1. re: Janet from Richmond
                  Morganna Nov 17, 2008 05:21 AM

                  I used to feel that way until I had a really wonderfully prepared turkey. My mother's turkey was always on the dry side. But now that I brine with really flavourful brine, and my turkey are moist -and- subtly nuanced, I love 'em. :)

                  Of course your mileage varies. :)

                  1. re: Morganna
                    j
                    Janet from Richmond Nov 17, 2008 05:39 AM

                    I've had what everyone else believed was great turkey...brined, free-range, smoked, fried, etc. I find it dry and pretty much a pain in the ass from start to finish.

                    1. re: Janet from Richmond
                      Morganna Nov 17, 2008 11:59 AM

                      Well that'd be why there's other food in the world. :)

                  2. re: Janet from Richmond
                    flourgirl Nov 18, 2008 04:04 AM

                    Well, besides the turkey, Thanksgiving at my mom's includes a virginia ham, her awsome stuffing, homemade cranberry sauce, caeser salad, mashed potatoes, mushroom gravy, usually roasted sweet potatoes and steamed broccoli with dressing, among other things. Once again, I assure you, not even close to "meh" - and there's so much else to eat, that if someone doesn't like turkey, they don't have to eat it and will never miss it.

                    1. re: flourgirl
                      j
                      Janet from Richmond Nov 18, 2008 04:43 AM

                      That would be fine if someone else was the one dealing with the carcass, the scrubing of the roaster, dividing the leftovers, etc. Since I am in Virginia, Virginia ham is something we have monthly and therefore not special. The place we are going for dinner this year is going to have so much food (and they make everything from scratch) and I don't have to deal with a carcass or the roaster and get to have rare beef and dressing...it's all good.

              2. MMRuth Nov 14, 2008 03:42 PM

                I like to cook Thanksgiving dinner, but it's actually been years since I've cooked a full traditional one myself. Last year we had two guests, and I made a rather untraditional menu. My husband is Dominican, hates turkey, and just doesn't have the same memories I do of turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and peas! Some years we are in the DR and have suffered through some truly horrific Thanksgiving meals served by families who I have no idea why they are celebrating American Thanksgiving, including one where we actually ate the day after Thanksgiving, as it was past midnight before everyone was seated. This year, some in-laws are visiting and they've eschewed turkey for fancy Chinese. Some years we go to a friend's house, and I bring stuffing using my mother's recipe, cranberry sauce, and Tarte Tatin. One of my favorite Thanksgivings was my senior year in college when I lived in a house and cooked Thanksgiving dinner for about 20 orphans/friends. Still don't know how I pulled it off, but I had my grandmother's silver and linens, and that made it festive.

                So, maybe next year! And, in the meanwhile, I may try making the Saveur oyster stuffing recipe the Saturday after the holiday.

                1 Reply
                1. re: MMRuth
                  c
                  chocolatebirthdaycake Nov 15, 2008 08:28 AM

                  Last year i was invited to a friend's house for T'giving and it stunk! I love the T'giving meal and look forward to it every year. i brought the string bean cassarole which I make with non-dairy canned kosher mushroom soup (and i don't dilute it), it tastes FANTASTIC. Anyway, no one made stuffing AND the bird was pre-cooked and brought over on a plane by her daughter from the family's nursing home kitchen in Florida - it was not heated up and it was SUCH a dissapointment. i went to a nyc greek diner afterwards and had a do-over. That was soooo bad!

                2. flourgirl Nov 14, 2008 02:20 PM

                  I am very fortunate that my 76 yr old mom still does - and wants to do - Thanksgiving. My brother and I (and our respective spouses) help out by bringing a lot of side dishes and dessert. We also do whatever misc. tasks she needs us to do when we get there, and we do all the clean up. I am perfectly happy with this arrangement - I really like to cook, but I actually enjoy Thanksgiving more without the pressure of having to prepare the whole meal.

                  1. JoanN Nov 14, 2008 01:25 PM

                    I love cooking Thanksgiving dinner. I love the foods and the flavors and the colors and the leftovers and everything about it. And I also love that it’s really quite an easy meal to prepare. So much can be done ahead of time and at my leisure: the soup, the cranberry sauces, the chutneys, the stuffing, the dessert. On the actual day I do little more than make a few vegetables and stick the turkey in the oven. Maybe it’s just that I’ve been doing it for so long, but I find it to be much easier and less time consuming than most of my dinner parties.

                    1. s
                      swsidejim Nov 14, 2008 09:16 AM

                      best holiday of the year, I look forward to cooking for my family. But then again I look forward to any day I can spend using my smoker, or spent in my kitchen.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: swsidejim
                        k
                        Kelli2006 Nov 15, 2008 08:09 AM

                        I also look forward to cooking for family , but the last thing I want to do it eat when I am done. I have no appetite left after I get the meal on the table, so I usually go out for a bike ride while they enjoy dinner.

                        1. re: Kelli2006
                          s
                          swsidejim Nov 17, 2008 04:18 AM

                          I agree, that happens alot with many meals I cook for guest, byt the time meal time comes, I have already been tasting the items getting the seasonings correct, I am sometimes not very hungry anymore. However a bike ride isnt in the cards for me. I will eat a little, drink some more, and enjoy the lively conversation at the table.

                      2. q
                        queencru Nov 14, 2008 07:57 AM

                        No one in my family has any enthusiasm for the Thanksgiving meal, so they'd probably agree with you. I don't even like pretending to be enthusiastic about it- which is fine with my parents and with one friend who I sometimes visit for Thanksgiving since she lives relatively near and doesn't really like TDay food either. Plus if I go to my friend's house, I am staying there and can help clean up, which I am sure my friend sees as a plus.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: queencru
                          Cheflambo Nov 14, 2008 09:13 AM

                          The most memorable of my Thanksgiving dinners is the ONE and only one eaten in a restaurant. I was a newlywed of 3 weeks, and husband had a business presentaiton to make that Friday in a city a few hours drive away. We decided to go together, and also decided to just "wing it" on the dinner, finally stopping at a Holiday Inn in Louisville, KY for our meal. There were actually quite a few other families there, and so we could be together by ourselves in a holiday atmostphere -- the best of both worlds. The food was nothing special -- the usually T-day items, served buffet, but the fact that we neither had to cook nor clean up was great.

                          These days, I would give ANYTHING to be cooking Thanksgiving dinner. Instead I will be a guest in someone else's house -- someone who does NOT want my suggestions. help or apparently input on the food. (A few years ago I brought her a beautiful cookbook - Nigella Lawson's "Feast" -- as a hostess gift. Last year I saw it on the shelf in her kitchen, dusty and unopened. Sigh....)

                          1. re: Cheflambo
                            e
                            ElissaInPlaya Nov 17, 2008 11:26 AM

                            Yuk. DON"T go if you can't help.

                        2. amyzan Nov 14, 2008 06:53 AM

                          I have the opposite problem. There are only two of us this year, and I really don't want to roast a turkey for two, even if it's a ten pound bird. The thing is, I'm afraid that when I do something else, I will end up missing the traditional food, especially the bird. Maybe I should just resign myself to leftovers that last a week or more...I do like turkey sandwiches!

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: amyzan
                            ccbweb Nov 14, 2008 07:26 AM

                            Roast a turkey breast on the bone. It takes less time (costs a lot less, too) and won't load you up with so many leftovers that you don't want to see turkey for two years.

                            1. re: ccbweb
                              amyzan Nov 14, 2008 12:46 PM

                              I've done that before, brining the whole bone in breast as I would a turkey, but it's never quite as flavorful as the whole bird. Another consideration is that the other person here for Tday is a dark meat eater. But, yeah, that's a good idea, thanks. I may try again, depending on my ability to convince the other half that breast meat will do.

                              One year when there were only two of us, I made a boneless turkey breast roulade with a mushroom duxelle stuffing. It was really tasty, but we both agreed we missed the cold turkey sandwiches, hot browns, breakfast hash, turkey soup, etc. that follow the holiday. It's kind of strange how attached one gets to food traditions. I'm one who can't have a birthday without cake, which seems silly now that I'm in my forties. But, hey, who am I to judge? <wink>

                              1. re: amyzan
                                ccbweb Nov 14, 2008 01:02 PM

                                A bit harder to find in my experience but at least one market around me sells (or sold, anyhow I haven't looked on any consistent basis to see if they have them often) turkey leg quarters.

                                I do agree that the whole bird tastes better. A conundrum indeed. Good luck!

                                1. re: ccbweb
                                  Jacquilynne Nov 14, 2008 02:02 PM

                                  I wonder if you could get a butcher to saw your turkey in half? My mother did that one year and it worked out quite well -- we had a mix of white and dark meat, some nice toasty skin, and not nearly as many leftovers. Plus, another half a turkey for Christmas or New Years or Easter already in the freezer.

                                  1. re: Jacquilynne
                                    ccbweb Nov 14, 2008 02:45 PM

                                    Now that's a brilliant idea. A good pair of kitchen shears might do it, too...although it would definitely take some effort.

                                    Wow. I may actually had to ask my butcher to do this (our total number of diners for Thanksgiving just went down by a few and the slightly too big a turkey is looking like a lot too big a turkey now...). Thanks for a terrifically simple solution idea!

                                2. re: amyzan
                                  BeefeaterRocks Nov 15, 2008 12:17 PM

                                  I was going to suggest boneless turkey roast which I sometimes do if there is just the two of us and I want light & dark (for Mr. BR) and left overs. I think it was a Butterball I bought last time. I had forgotten that my MIL also used to have her turkeys cut in half by the butcher which is an excellent idea

                            2. b
                              bnemes3343 Nov 14, 2008 06:28 AM

                              There is nothing better than cooking up a full TDay dinner, enjoying it with family, watching football, falling asleep on the couch... I can't imagine ever going out, but TEHO.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: bnemes3343
                                j
                                Janet from Richmond Nov 14, 2008 06:31 AM

                                This year I will be able to actually watch football instead of overhearing it from the kitchen.

                              2. m
                                MrsT Nov 14, 2008 06:23 AM

                                Truthfully, I've always wanted to cook for Thanksgiving. This is my first time cooking and I am so excited. I usually work that morning and don't have time to cook or get "ordered" to go to my Aunt's house for a feast. Since my in-laws are a little easier to get to, we go there. My MIL usually breaks out the frozen veggies, Stove Top stuffing, and then kills a dead turkey. I get stay on my diet and save the splurge for Christmas.

                                1. j
                                  Janet from Richmond Nov 14, 2008 04:43 AM

                                  If you are grinch, than I am one too. This is the first time in 20 years I will not be cooking Thanksgiving dinner (started when I was 24) as we are going out. I am thrilled. Daughter and my brother are disappointed, but I could care less as they aren't the ones dealing with it. They get to sit back and enjoy and in the case of our daughter, she'll wolf it down and then head to her boyfriend's parents and grandparents. And I'll get to eat beef :-) Honestly, no one has ever given a damn that I don't like cooking Thanksgiving and don't like roasted turkey and abhor dealing with the leftovers (not to mention handwashing a plethora of wine glasses, the roaster, and running the dishwasher 2-3 times that day) and this year I get to sit back and enjoy my meal without stressing about what faces me in the kitchen.

                                  1. Morganna Nov 14, 2008 04:28 AM

                                    Well, for me, I work full time. I never get to spend the time cooking that I would like to spend. So the Thanksgiving meal is a time for me to have fun cooking, and feeding people foods I don't normally make very often because of their complexity. I don't think I have, in my entire 43 years of living, eaten anything but a home-cooked meal for Thanksgiving. In the early years, it'd be a meal at my Aunt's house, when we lived close enough, but after we'd moved from Indiana to Iowa, it was always a home cooked meal with my mother's stuffing (mmmmmm) and whatever orphan friends I could muster up at the time. If I was living somewhere else, I drove home...

                                    Except for... November 1988. I was living with a roommate in Alaska, and my closest friends had just moved away to San Francisco, and my (future) husband hadn't moved up to Alaska from Long Island yet (he spent that Thanksgiving day working at 7-11 on a double shift and talking to me on the phone). So I didn't do a full meal, but I'm pretty sure I got like a turkey roll and some stove top stuffing. :) I don't remember specifically, but I know I didn't have the money to be eating out, and I didn't have any friends to invite me over.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Morganna
                                      l
                                      Linda VH Nov 14, 2008 04:39 AM

                                      We have been going out for years. My DH loooooves Turkey and I do NOT so we go to our favorite Italian restaurant where they serve traditional turkey w/stuffing and cranberry sauce, etc. AND offer seconds just like at home. BUT that is not all they serve. It is in addition to their regular menu so I happily have an Italian meal. To each their own!

                                    2. m
                                      my3cflvi Nov 14, 2008 03:30 AM

                                      Personally I prefer to enjoy a home cooked meal. And I agree it doesn't even have to be a traditional meal. Instead of turkey, one year I made a complete vegetarian feast. As far as spending a week cooking, I try to make the dishes more simple, such as roasted vegetables. And forget appetizers, except a glass of champagne. I used to feel the dinner was overwhelming until I found ways to make it less stressful. Why not spice up the meal with dishes you like? E.g. What's wrong with meatballs, pasta or tamales along with the turkey? Find dishes you love and share them, even if they're store bought.

                                      1. n
                                        neverlate Nov 13, 2008 08:15 PM

                                        Yes, go out to an early meal, and drop in on friends afterwards. Everyone has way too much food, and will be glad to give you some leftovers to take home. Be kind to yourself and be thankful for expressing the real you.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: neverlate
                                          oldbaycupcake Nov 14, 2008 01:19 PM

                                          How about a compromise? Go out for dinner & then invite the "orphans" over for drinks and dessert! Everyone wins!

                                        2. c
                                          CrazyOne Nov 13, 2008 07:11 PM

                                          Let the family cook. ;-)

                                          Heck, I think I'm worse than you. I generally don't care that much about having a traditional meal at all, whether cooked at home or otherwise. I'm all for spaghetti or pizza or whatever. And football, that's traditional, I guess. ;-) I have a chance here and there to eat and/or cook or at least help a little with a good home cooked meal, including the traditional Thanksgiving sorts of things, but it doesn't have to happen on the fourth Thursday of EVERY SINGLE NOVEMBER that I make it to.

                                          Bah, humbug. LOL

                                          I say go out. If the others are into staying home and cooking so much, let THEM do it.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: CrazyOne
                                            p
                                            Panini Guy Nov 16, 2008 10:44 AM

                                            I keep trying desperately to make a lasagne the centerpiece, but never win. Growing up, pretty much all my friends were Italian and almost all of them had a spread that might include a turkey breast and some trimmings, but all featured a lasagne. And that's become my idea of Thanksgiving.

                                            The wife wanted to go out this year, but with dining out money getting tighter, I convinced her that the last thing we should do is spend it a freaking turkey dinner when there are so many new restaurants we haven't had a chance to try yet. So she's insisting on making a turkey and major production. And I'll get dragged into it.

                                            If it weren't for football and getting a half day off, it would be my least favorite holiday.

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