How to Cheat at Thanksgiving
We know that Thanksgiving is all about giving thanks. But how about a year where you can be thankful you don’t have to do as much, and still look like Martha?
For those of you who are prepared to cheat a bit, this is for you.
And even if you are a purist, we have some tips at the end to make your Thanksgiving even better!
Option A – FAKE IT ENTIRELY!
See below to determine whose boxes you will be tucking into the recycling bin before your guests arrive.
Whole Foods Market – Yorkville
Build your own meal or order one of the dinner packages; choose to cook it yourself or pick one of the options you can reheat and serve. Whole Foods has a variety of vegetarian items as well and usually even offers a full vegan dinner.
Summerhill Market – Rosedale
For holiday take-out they offer sliced free-range turkey dinners for you to warm up at home that come with apple,onion and sage dressing, gravy, buttermilk mashed potatoes, orange cranberry sauce, maple roasted butternut squash and french green beans for around $25 per person. You need to order at least 48 hours in advance.
Fairmont Royal York Hotel- Across from Union Station
Turkey dinner from the Fairmont Royal York can be ordered as a complete meal or you can just get the turkey, stuffing and gravy. In both versions you can choose between meals suited for 4, 8 or 12 people. This means there’s a big price range too – from $119 for four people sans veggies up to $360 for the full fixings suited for 12. They also offer home delivery.
*Thanks to About.com
Option B – SOURCE A BIRD THAT IS READY TO GO AND SLAVE OVER THE SIDES
2126 Queen Street East, 416-699-4383
A Beach local favorite, you can order anti-biotic free, free range, stress free, indoor bred turkeys that are air chilled (none of that water chilled nonsense here) and promise to be super moist and yummy.
1097 Yonge St., 416-928-0296
Located along the notorious Five Thieves strip in Summerhill, Olliffe’s will be serving up oven-ready (that is, no cleaning required), organic turkeys from Quebec and Ontario at $4.99 per lb. Birds can be pre-ordered until October 7, but it’s wise to reserve earlier. Also available: six different stuffings, the most popular a mélange of sausage, prosciutto, pork tenderloin and veal.
The Healthy Butcher
565 Queen St. W., 416-674-2642
This Queen West butcher offers an extraordinarily wide Thanksgiving menu, including a limited amount of fresh, pasture-raised Ontario turkey ($3.99 per lb.; order by October 1st to avoid disappointment). Everything from wild game to turducken to pumpkin fudge is also available. Monforte Dairy’s Toscano, similar to pecorino, is the featured artisanal cheese—at the low price of $19.99 per lb. (regularly $24.95).
The Village Butcher
2914 Lake Shore Blvd. W., 416-503-9555
Free-range turkeys from southwestern Ontario are available. Birds weighing less than 20 lb. go for $3.49 per lb., while heavier ones cost $3.89 per lb. (Last day to order is October 4.) Other festive options: lamb loin roast stuffed with feta and spinach, and roasted pork stuffed with Manitoulin Island apples.
93 Front St. E., 416-366-4465; plus two other locations
While only one type of turkey is on offer—Ontario free-range—at $2.99 per lb., this is the cheapest of the bunch. Act fast though: the last day to place an order is September 30. Also available are four types of bread stuffing (cranberry-cashew, wild rice–cornbread, smoked ham–apricot and bacon-herb), as well as bone-in ham, prime rib and Cornish hens.
481 Church St., 416-923-5600; 1636 Bayview Ave., 416-485-5620
Grain-fed turkeys from Quebec and Cayuga, Ontario, are $3.89 per lb., ranging in size from 10 to 16 lb. Orders will be taken up until October 7, on a first-come, first-serve basis. Other big sellers include capons, Cornish hens and guinea fowl. As an accompaniment to your bird of choice, owner Stephen Alexander suggests his Decadent stuffing: sautéed mushrooms, spinach, goat cheese, devil-smoked bacon and caramelized onions.
Bistro Bakery Thuet
609 King St. W., 416-603-2777
In anticipation of his soon-to-be-opened Liberty Village prepared food shop, Atelier Thuet, Chef Marc Thuet offers a full range of made-to-order dishes that add a French twist to trad Thanksgiving fare. These include slow-roasted whole organic turkey ($6 per lb.), Alsatian chestnut stuffing ($4 per lb.) and Mama Prevedello’s tiramisu with autumn fruit compote ($32 serves a six-person table). Order will be taken until October 5. (72 hours notice is required to ensure quality and availability.)
* Thanks to Toronto Life
Option C – GO POTLUCK ON THE SIDE DISHES
Just the way to make everyone truly feel part of the day, have your guests each bring a dish…but stick to appies, sides and dessert. And make sure you tell them exactly you want them to bring so you don’t have four dishes of sweet potato pie.
Stuck for ideas to pull it all together? Check out this great menu planner from Epicuirous.
Option D – FOR AMBITIOUS PURISTS OR CONTROL FREAKS, DO IT ALL YOURSELF
The complete Epicurious Thanksgiving Guide is great, with planning checklists, menu suggestions, turkey-friendly wines, amazing recipes and ideas to blow your guests away.
– Set your table the night before so you have one less thing to worry about.
– Consider decorating the entrance way, halls, and dining room table with sheaves of wheat, Indian corn, colorful dried leaves, acorns, seasonal pumpkins, gourds, feathers, or a variety of seasonal blooms, including mums, sunflowers, roses, yarrow, eucalyptus, and dried berries.
– Recycle Materials – The grocery store is a great place to stock up on supplies for your Thanksgiving table. The best thing about using food in an arrangement is that you can recycle it. Bowls of bright cranberries and kumquats can be turned into delicious chutneys to accompany leftover turkey. Vases full of walnuts, Brazil nuts, and hazelnuts can be eaten throughout the holiday season.
– Keep in mind that you want to be able to see and converse with the person seated across from you. Eventually there will be a lot of food on the table, so make sure that your centerpiece is not too large.
Don’t forget to save some for us…and happy Thanksgiving!
The Mark Richards Team