Thanksgiving traditionally is a day for the family to gather together, give thanks, watch football and feast. And though few want to forgo the time-honored turkey and trimmings, some people don't consider a day in the kitchen to be a holiday.
The alternative is to cut the apron strings and get your turkey to go. Don't be surprised if a little investigating uncovers restaurants and stores that will cook the whole dinner for you.
Check grocery store delis, cafeterias and specialty gourmet shops. Overall, ordering, packaging, pick-up and price will probably be better at grocery stores and cafeterias that offer a complete dinner package. You select a menu based on how manypeople you need to feed; the package is ready to go at a designated time and you pay the package price.
Gourmet shops offer a more varied and imaginative selection. You compose a menu from their suggestions and pay for each dish by the pound or piece.
Food from a gourmet-shop meal will probably cost more than that from a grocery store or cafeteria, but the menu will be more creative.
Gourmet shops also tend to require more notice; if you're in a hurry, call a grocery store deli. However, since much of the food in packaged dinners is precooked, it's a good idea to check its quality as soon as you get home. Poultry and stuffing are especially prone to sour, even under the best conditions.
If you're not serving the food soon, refrigerate it immediately.