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Thanksgiving off the shelf

My husband’s cousin sent a link to a very useful site: [See my article about it on]

I enjoyed perusing it, and thought I might find it useful in many circumstances. However, it was a head-shaking, shocking realization to look at their reviews of their “Thanksgiving Food Collection” that they are probably spot-on about how Americans cook for Thanksgiving. There was exactly one product on the list that I have used — ever! Libby’s pumpkin. I do swear by Libby’s to deliver the same old product every time, never disappoints.

However, how about a Thanksgiving like this:

Sara Lee Signature Selections Deep Dish Orchard Apple Pie

Kraft Stove Top Chicken With Whole Wheat

ShopRite Turkey Stuffing Mix

Heinz Homestyle Gravy, Sausage

Amy’s Apple Pie

Shady Brook Farms Frozen Whole Turkey

ShopRite Chicken Gravy

Sara Lee Signature Selections Deep Dish Traditional Pumpkin Pie

Perdue Fresh Turkey

Safeway, Vons Jellied Cranberry Sauce

ShopRite Chicken Stuffing Mix

Shoprite Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce

Honeysuckle White Fresh Whole Turkey

Pepperidge Farm Sage & Onion Stuffing

R.W. Knudsen Cranberry Sauce

Shoprite Organic Jellied Cranberry Sauce

Heinz Homestyle Savory Beef Gravy

Diestel Farms Organic Turkey

Perdue Fresh Whole Turkey Breast

Stove Top, Stuffing Mix, Savory Herbs

ShopRite Beef Gravy

Shoprite Jellied Cranberry Sauce

Stove Top, Turkey Stuffing Mix

My head is swimming. Must be all that sodium and high fructose corn syrup. (Think that’s not in your favorite packaged food? Look again: it’s in everything these days.)

So, OK, I know my family is a bit weird. I’ve always known that. When I was very small I thought that everyone else was weird, but then I got a little perspective and I accepted my birthright. We’re weird, we do what we do and that’s it.

But people, are you really serving Heinz Homestyle Savory Beef Gravy over your Diestel Farms Organic Turkey? Do you really think that there’s any reason to buy an Amy’s Apple Pie or Sara Lee Signature Selections Deep Dish Traditional Pumpkin Pie? Did you know that making a decent pie is easy as…um…pie?

And are you really buying Shoprite Organic Jellied Cranberry Sauce when making a fabulous cranberry sauce involves cooking cranberries (readily available at any supermarket or at your local vege shop) with sugar (not high fructose corn syrup)?

OK, one of my brothers-in-law, I believe, once told me that cranberry sauce ought to have the can lines in it when you dump it into the dish. But hey, get your empty can of Libby’s pumpkin, clean it, pour your homemade cranberry sauce into it, and chill. Come Thanksgiving dinner, voila!, can lines on your cranberry sauce, which cost half as much and has twice as much taste and nutrition, and no high fructose corn syrup.

Sometimes I realize I’m out of touch, and then I know how lucky I am!

So here’s your basic plan for a home-cooked Thanksgiving dinner. It’s all about time-management and learning to delegate:

  1. Delegate everything but the turkey, stuffing, and potatoes.
  2. Stuffing is easy to make.
  3. OK, there are some great things you can do to make your turkey fabulous, but it’s pretty darn OK if you stuff it and stick it in the oven till done. Really.
  4. Real potatoes, please! Again, not such a hard thing once you’ve done it once.

OK, so now I admit the truth, which is that I have a vegetarian husband and have only done the turkey, stuffing, and potatoes part once, when my parents were living in Germany. Usually I’m one of the delegatees: I make pumpkin pie and some unusual appetizer and a vege option for my husband. But my mom makes it look easy, so I’m sure I could do it, right?

If I haven’t convinced you, though, and you must get your Thanksgiving meal in packages, please do go to and find out what you’re really buying when the label says “all natural.”

Posted in Culture, Health.

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