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Having Your Thanksgiving at a Restaurant: Choice or Necessity?

After three years of being unable to have Thanksgiving at our home because a family member's serious mobility restrictions limit our potential sites, I'm beginning not to feel quite so mournful and am grateful that at least she is still with us. But as much as I like to eat out, it's still not something I'd do by choice except under remarkable-but-as-yet-undefined circumstances.

And you? Why are you eating out?

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  1. Because I really dislike turkey and all that goes with it - yes I dislike stuffing, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce and especially turkey! 30 years ago, because of mobility issues for FIL we went to the Ritz in Boston in a private room. Much to my delight there was duck on the menu along with escargot, etc. I never looked back and have rarely had to endure a "homecooked" turkey dinner since. BTW, Leonard Bernstein was in the next room and played the piano for his guests. He had a concert that night and had his hair in a pincurl above his ears lol!!! His Dachsund sat at the dining table - dog came in to visit much to the delight of FIL.
    Anyway, this year we are going to a really good steakhouse that has traditional turkey for DH and whoever else and luscious steak and sides for moi!!!

    2 Replies
      1. I absolutely LOVE to cook. I'm good at it (I'm no creative chef, but I know what I'm doing in the kitchen). I cook almost every single day. But for just the 4 of us (we don't get together with others who live too far away), I simply don't want to spend days cooking all of the delicious things we can get at the buffet where we eat every year (at a hotel in the city nearby). It's a reasonable price for the selection, $50/ each, and they have everything you could possibly want, including live classical music. No clean up necessary and they have more desserts than I could possibly make in a year (I am NOT a baker at all, so actually I could probably never make these works of art). They serve everything from antipasto platters to smoked fish appetizers, fresh breads, all sorts of cheeses, brunch items, turkey, ham, roast beef, a dozen different sides, made-to-order omelets, pastas, and a nice wine list. And I'm forgetting half of it. When making reservations, it's understood that you have the table for the duration of the buffet, which is 4 hours long. We stay for the entire time and slowly make our way through the courses. Our daughter is 10 and she has loved this tradition for many years and talks about past years as fond memories. It's a true feast and we all enjoy it very much, which is by choice, not necessity. :-) As a matter of fact, because of mobility issues, we can't go this year and we are all disappointed, including the one that is the reason we're not able to go out. My mother can no longer leave the house and, asshe was the biggest fan of this buffet, she is very upset that we can't go. I have absolutely no desire to cook Thanksgiving dinner.

        1 Reply
        1. re: gardencook

          Your post sounds a little familiar. There are four of us, no family nearby and no friends who do not have family obligations on Thanksgiving day. We went out several years when the children were younger, then I started cooking at home. This is one of my favorite meals to cook throughout the year but my least favorite to eat and all those leftovers........yuck. I don't dream of leftover turkey sandwiches or leftover turkey anything for that matter and the same goes for the other dishes. Turns out that the rest of my family of four feels the same way. So this year we are going out to a buffet where there will be turkey, ham, and fried chicken and lots of sides to choose from so everyone can eat what they want and no leftovers to eat for the next week. :)

        2. My family is huge (not enough room) and is just as happy with a restaurant as they are with something that I've slaved over. Rather than spending Thanksgiving with a plate of food on my lap, we go to a restaurant. My wife and I make our own Thanksgiving feast on Saturday night.

          1. There are only three of us for Thanksgiving this year. My mom loves turkey, my step-dad likes it well enough, and I'm ambivalent towards it. I suggested having some other meat for Thanksgiving and saving the turkey for Christmas when we'll have a larger crowd. My mom countered with "I was thinking we could just go out." So, we made reservations for the Thanksgiving buffet at a private garden/conservatory near their house. I love cooking, but I'm really kind of relieved to not have the pressure of cooking the big meal. When we cook for Thanksgiving, I'm rarely hungry by the time we get to the table because I've spent the whole day tasting little bits of everything. I'm looking forward to having a wider variety of foods than my mom, aunt and I could cook on our own, and having plenty of non-turkey options.

            1. It's just the hubby, kid, and me; no family close by. While they like turkey, I'd much prefer anything else. I am the cook, so I spend a lot of my time making meals for us, so considering that I would have to get up early enough to make the whole dinner ('cause you HAVE to have the mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, baked yams, stuffing, mushroom gravy, vegetables, pie, etc. etc) and spend it frantically cooking. If we had several family members coming over and someone brought the salad and someone else brought the mashed potatoes, etc., then it would work out, but to produce such a meal for only 3 people just isn't worth all the work.
              Additionally, by going out, I get an actual HOLIDAY where I can relax and enjoy the two best things in my life, my husband and child, and not be running around making sure that the gravy is not lumpy and the dishes are all washed and the food's all put away.
              Also, while they have their turkey, I can get something I like, such as prime rib or grilled salmon...and I don't have to do any dishes :)