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Have you seen the price of food items in Neiman Marcus' Christmas Catalog?

Just received the Christmas Book from NM. There is a smaller catalog of holiday food items and, I have to say, I'm quite shocked. Prime rib roast for $244.00. OK--it is seasoned, but come on....the Holidays are all about home cooking for the most part. Brie en croute--up to $80. Eight little quails for something like $90.

If you could afford to, would any of you order this food? I dunno--even if I could afford to, I just could not spend that kind of money. I would rather spend it on a great meal in a wonderful restaurant--or on a great pair of shoes.

Pardon my narrowmindedness, but I love holiday cooking--I love everything from the planning to the purchasing of ingredients. The scents! The way all my kids have their special requests. Entertaining the guests--it is all so wonderful and magical.

What's your thinkin', Lincoln?

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  1. I started a similar thread about it last month because I don't understand the cost of some of the veggie sides. If I am going to pay that much for food, I would rather hirer a caterer and have someone else worry about the cooking, serving, and cleaning. I do like flipping through the catalog to get ideas for dishes, but except for some of the desserts the dishes don't look all the complicated or special.

    1. People are different and money is relative.

      For some, they don't like going to a restaurant or the holidays are about being at home with family but not necessarily about cooking. Or they can't cook this year for whatever reason.

      I can imagine situations in which I might order something like this if I felt confident in the quality of the product.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ccbweb

        >>I can imagine situations in which I might order something like this if I felt confident in the quality of the product.>>

        Me too, easily. The potential problems with perishable mail order things are a turnoff for me, though. There was an article years ago in the New York Times where the author experimented with ordering a number of holiday foodstuffs and everyone dismally failed at getting them to her on time or even delivering at all. I would be too nervous about that kind of thing. That's if I even thought the N-M foods were appealing; I don't..

        BUT as someone who is insanely busy over the holidays and finds shopping plus cooking an almost insurmountable problem that time of year, I do rely on some shockingly (to some) expensive premade foods and foods that don't need much doing to them-- smoked seafood and like that. That frees me up to make a beautiful beef bourguignon or something for the main course and still spend time with the family.

      2. The food prices in their Christmas catalog are the same as their year round prices. Pretty much in line with the $65.00 apple pie prices from a NYC bakery in another thread. I check them out regularly. A prime rib roast is in that price range at any special order USDA Prime beef website, IF they offer prime rib roasts. I've never actually tried any of Neiman's food simply because i'm afraid of the "I can make it at least this good" syndrome. With few exceptions, their entire line of "gourmet foods" are "Shipped from vendor." Some "vendors" are celebrity chefs, such as Dean Fearing and Charlie Trotter, while many are not.

        I just can't figure out why anyone of sufficient discretionary income to order an entire holiday meal for family and friends from NM wouldn't take the less-hassle route and simply hire a top caterer to do the whole thing up brown. The food would all arrive at one time, the caterer is responsible for service and clean up, and it would all be fresh. Go figure... Well, maybe research guys in Antarctica order Christmas dinner from NM. Ya think?

        3 Replies
        1. re: Caroline1

          Perhaps they don't want more people in the house or don't want to be served dinner in that way. As I mused above, the holiday may be about spending time with family for them.

          1. re: ccbweb

            You seem to have missed my point. I'm not doubting any of yours, but when things are "shipped by vendor," there is little chance they will all arrive at the same time. Some may arrive several days ahead of time, some may even arrive late. That does NOT happen with a caterer.

            1. re: Caroline1

              I don't think I missed anything, its only that I responded narrowly on the question of having someone doing service and cleanup. That I think there are reasons someone might reasonably order from Neiman Marcus for holiday food doesn't mean that I think any of the points you make or questions you raise aren't valid.

              I'm thinking/typing off the top of my head here: I'd presume that there are cutoff ordering times designed to prevent late arrival and that the premium pricing is, in part, to help guarantee timely arrival. Certainly things may arrive late or not at all. Just as some caterers cancel last minute. Not ones that tend to stay in business for very long I'd think, but I know of at least two instances in which its happened.

              There are always going to be things that one can point to and say "that makes it a bad reason to do this" but I think there are also going to be instances where it would still make sense.

        2. You do realize that they earned their nickname of Needless Markup, right?

          It's my usual thinking with everything from Neiman Marcus... I'm sure it's really, REALLY nice.

          1. Think of that- this way. Leftovers were once cooked, but were saved from the trash for some unknown reason. I would not pay $2 for that nasty $244 Roast. They are trying to sell TLC, which has no markup.

            1 Reply
            1. re: RShea78

              Ah, would they only cook/order/cater a lovely dinner at a more reasonable price and send the hefty check to the local food bank. People are hungry and going without.

            2. We'll never know, but I would be very curious to see how this business is affected by the current economic climate.

              1 Reply
              1. re: roxlet

                My guess is they don't sell much of the food stuffs in the first place, regardless of the economy. And the "ships from vendor" probably goes a very long way to protect them from losses. On the other hand, it remains to be seen how many destination wedding packages will be given as gifts this year at 1.3 million a pop. Things are rough all over.

              2. Uh, why is that not like a place like Per Se?

                1. In the same vein, but a lot lower in class, have you seen the food prices from QVC? Paula Deen's macaroni and cheese - with shipping and tax it's over $50 for 2 lbs. For mac and cheese! A pecan pie is $40. The gooey butter cake is close to $45. I can't imagine anyone paying those kind of prices for easily obtained food.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: GenieinTX

                    That's ridiculous. I don't know what is worse--purchasing food from NM or QVC?

                      1. re: Catskillgirl

                        A couple of years ago my best friend and her family came for Thanksgiving and she brought a derby pie that she had ordered from NM. It was really delicious, but I can only imagine that it was ridiculously expensive. She does that kind of thing and yes, she is ridiculously wealthy. We're going to her house this year and I hope they have that pie!

                        1. re: DaisyM

                          The dessert prices don't see as ridiculous to me and they do look good. How she used the catalog seems reasonable. It's the thought that people may order their whole meal from the catalog is what baffles me.

                    1. re: GenieinTX

                      I can't imagine getting actual value-for-money from anything at QVC. Paula Dean and Rachel Ray and Emeril are getting what they can while their 15 minutes of fame last.

                    2. The lesson to be learned: some people have more money than is good for them.

                      In the "me first" 80's that was something to be proud of - I think more and more it will be seen as a cause for shame (if these people ever feel anything like that).