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Countdown to Thanksgiving, Day 7: Let Someone Else Do the Work

Local markets, hotels and caterers serve up a cornucopia of pick-up options for the big feast.

Follow along with Megan Swoyer as she prepares for Thanksgiving, with daily tips to keep you on track.  Day 7 offers tips for takeout, from sides to the whole meal.

One of my friends is a bit freaked about hosting Thanksgiving at her boyfriend’s home. 

“I’m a little crazed,” she told me. “His kids will be there and all of that (he’s divorced and has children who live out East).

While she was sharing this with me, I was simultaneously reading email and had serendipitously received a note from the owners of Canapé Cart in Ferndale.

“Hey,” I told my friend. “You can order all of your sides from this great place. It won’t be like you’re not cooking; you’re just making it easier and you can get to know his family better, etc. by not being a slave in the kitchen. Make the turkey, do the potatoes, stuffing and gravy, and pick up everything else.”

“I might check that out,” she said, sounding relieved.

No one should ever feel bad about ordering a takeout for Thanksgiving. If you think about it, most of us delegate many of the side dishes anyway. At my house, I’m in charge of the turkey, potatoes, rolls, stuffing, gravy and dessert, and many of the guests bring the sides. I could very well pick those up, but don't need to. Everyone's situation is different, and the main thing is to gather around a table and share food, right?

I plan to make a gluten-free coconut cream pie, and will pick up a few pies at the Grand Traverse Pie Company. This year, I’ve got my heart set on a cherry concoction.

If you prefer cherry pie, you’ll be happy to know that the nation's forecasted tart cherry production for 2011 totals 266.1 million pounds, up 40 percent from the 2010 production. Of this 2011 total, the overwhelming majority (210.0 million pounds) will be produced in Michigan, according to USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service. (Another way to enjoy a Pure Michigan —  or partly pure — feast on Thanksgiving: Refer back to ).

Back to the sides. I can't see how anyone can go wrong with Canapé Cart’s sides.  Owners Kathleen O’Neill and Mary Rembelski, whose company was established in 1987, focus on innovative cuisine, distinctive presentations for celebrations and events, cooking classes and a terrific to-go business that is especially appealing this time of year. They’re also big on using healthy ingredients.

“We started our business because of our love of food, good wines and world travel,” Rembelski said.  

Pick it up 

Here's the lowdown on takeouts for everything from stuffing and sweet potatoes to the entire feast.

• for baked goods.

• for your Thanksgiving cupcake package.

• for the pint of after dinner ice cream.

• (Dearborn, Berkley and Livonia) feature a veritable cornucopia of prepared foods, from macaroni and cheese to party trays and fruit platters. Customize your trays with everything from Westborn corn chips and salsa to artisan cheeses.

• ’s Thanksgiving sides menu includes classic sage scented bread stuffing with sautéed onions, celery and apples; classic mashed potatoes; braised brussels sprouts with almonds and dried cherries; green beans with sun-dried tomatoes; brown sugar-glazed sweet potatoes with pecans; and cranberry orange relish. You must order by 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 18. 

• The Grand Traverse Pie Company (in Brighton and Troy) folks are excited about their Northport pumpkin pie. Other favorites include pecan varieties, including the Blissful Chocolate Pecan. Autumn Harvest Pies also are tempting.

Honey Baked Ham (11 metro-area locations) offers easy on-line ordering for cooked turkeys and all the trimmings.

Boston Market offers entire meals or sides (20 Michigan locations) that can be ordered with  an easy pick-and-click process, online.

• markets (St. Clair Shores, Troy and Clinton Township locations) plan to whip up a great bread stuffing with sage, turkey gravy and orange cranberry relish and selling it from Nov. 21-23. The store offers samples as well. You can also purchase a variety of sides and more.

• (Birmingham and Rochester) features great sides as well as beautiful cheese and fruit trays.     

Day 8: Spud sages whip up some tips for perfect mashed potatoes. 

Guy Fawkes November 18, 2011 at 01:41 PM
If you haven't sampled one of Nick Santches' Rock City Pies, (weekends at Rust Belt Market) you are behind the 8 ball. His Pumpkin dulce de leche, I predict, will replace the mush most folks thing of as Pumpkin Pie for the holidays. The crust alone is a dessert. I'm having him do 5 pies for me, I'm attending two different dinners. I will.....be the hero.
Terry Parris Jr. November 18, 2011 at 04:25 PM
Good one, Guy. Definitely a go-to place. What are the five pies? And congrats on saving Thanksgiving for those two dinners!

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