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Thanksgiving - What Should I Do?

This year it is just my husband and I, plus my mother who is in hospice and beginning to wind down. We decided to take a Thanksgiving feast to her facility and invite those who got stuck working the holiday to share some of our food.

Now the logistics are looking scary. There is only a small microwave there for reheating things. We had originally thought we could take things in casserole dishes and the roasting pan (with lid) in a warmed cooler, with the gravy in a microwavable jar. It is a LOT of things to pack and carry, especially not knowing how many people will actually eat some. It might be only one or two others besides ourselves; Mom will only eat a little bit (most likely).

Next, we thought about just making up 10-12 plates of food that we wrap up and somehow carry there; then people can just nuke their plate if it gets too cool for their tastes. I'm not sure how people would like having someone load their plate for them, however.

This project is looking impossible, especially if we want to carve the beast at home and still have it fresh an hour later after being driven around. I guess we could take the poultry in the crockpot after carving it? Or would it then look like someone has already eaten it? It does need to be carved at home - too much of a mess, and there's not enough room to do it at the facility.


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  1. Just remember that anything you bring will be appreciated.
    I would bring sliced turkey, bread, cranberry sauce and gravy to warm in the microwave. People could make turkey sandwiches.
    Hospice folks are a gracious and grateful group; don't stress.
    Bring a couple of pies and they will adore you.

    1. Why not plan some cold dishes. Potatoe salad instead of mashed, tri bean salad instead of a warm veg, etc. That way you aren't relying on the microwave to heat everything up. I would slice the turkey at home and maybe arrange it there or bring a pretty plate with you. Like you said gravy can easily be warmed and rolls are good cold ( just remember butter).

      I agree with the pies. Best part of the day.

      1. I wouldn't make individual plates - may just create too much confusion.

        Having things at room temperature will be fine. It's unlikely that everyone working will eat at that same time. And there is a good chance they will not be able to eat without interruption, so sandwiches are nice.

        This is a lovely idea! Hope your Mother has good appetite and enjoys the day!

        1. Check out the cheap, lightweight, reusable storage containers (e.g. Gladware) next to the bags and wraps in the supermarket. Use those so you can leave them at the hospice. They have lids, stack, and are microwaveable. If there are divided-compartment ones available, you can do those instead of "plates". I don't think staffers will object to having their plates pre-loaded. In addition, it would be nice to take a whole pie or cake, and plastic utenstils.

          2 Replies
          1. re: greygarious

            That's a good idea for if you want to do everything in advance - if they have a fridge, any unused 'plates' can go in there until somebody wants to eat them. Otherwise, keep things simple. Cook your turkey on Wednesday and carve it and people can eat it nuked or cold. Simple cold accompaniements and don't forget the cranberry sauce. It's nice of you to think of the staff...

            1. re: greygarious

              Do you think they won't have utensils?

            2. I would just pack each food item in separate disposable aluminum trays. At the hospice everyone will be able to fix their own plates and reheat them w/ the microwave. Afterwards you can leave all the food behind for the rest of the workers.

              Remember that no matter what you do everyone will appreciate your thoughtfulness, even if you bring a bucket of KFC!

              1. Just a thought because I was in a Sam's Club today that had a really nice looking "Crock Pot" type appliance that had three pots in one base. The price was around $40. Put turkey (already carved/sliced) with some broth to keep it moist in one, dressing in one and a lightly steamed green veggie like green beans in the other. Have plastic containers of gravy, cranberry sauce, potato salad and something like a corn relish. The gravy can be heated in the microwave. The other dishes are served cool or at room temperature. Add some dinner rolls or bread for people to make sandwiches. And something sweet for dessert, like a pumpkin pie.

                1. The staff will be appreciative, but they most likely won't be able to eat with you (rules, staffing needs, helping residents eat. . .) They might have more options for storage and re-heating in the staff break room.

                  If it were me, I would bring everything in storage containers you don't mind loosing (glad ware, etc) and packed separately (turkey, potatoes, stuffing) so people can assemble their own plates when on break. If you can leave it in the fridge, the PMs and overnight staff will LOVE you. Bring a note to leave with the food saying who it's from and thanks for all they do.

                  Alternatively, bring enough for you and your family, then a pie or 2 for staff. Paper plates would be helpful, but amazingly there usually is plasticware utensils floating around.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: autumm

                    This is a hospice; rules usually much less rigid. They will almost certainly eat with you.

                  2. Do what is easiest for you! Don't worry about heating anything beyond yours, your husband and your mom's meals.
                    If making pre-portioned plates is easier to transport then do that and the staff can microwave before eating- weather that is with or without you. If you wrap the plates in foil you can just write ontop with sharpie what it is and who its from.
                    Your generosity will be appreciated regardless.

                    1. I would keep it simple. Turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, string beans or another vegetable that is easy, rolls, gravy. After slicing the turkey, put it in one of these deep foil dishes and cover. The stuffing, too, can go in one of these.


                      Cranberry sauce, green beans and rolls don't need to be hot (maybe make a green bean salad or something).

                      Keep the turkey and stuffing in your oven so they are nice and hot and then when you leave, keep them covered tight. They should still be warm/hot when you arrive and everyone will be thankful.

                      Hope it all works out.

                      1. I think your idea is very thoughtful and I don't want to rain on your parade but have you checked with the facility to find out what you're planning to do is not against policy? Another thing to consider is some people won't eat food from people they don't know, so if this happens, don't be offended. The important thing is that you get to share a meal with your Mom and that's a memory you can file away to look back on later. Happy Thanksgiving