By Tonya Garner
Brownies can be popped in the microwave and ready to eat in minutes. Salad comes in a bag, chopped, washed and ready to toss. Today’s consumers are accustomed to convenience.
That’s why local stores and restaurants are offering fully cooked meals and take-out turkeys this Thanksgiving.
Katie Brassfield, 33, described herself as a stressed-out working mother.
“I am the queen of the 15-minute supper,” she laughed. “My microwave is my most prized possession.”
The Clovis resident said it isn’t often she has four days off in a row with her husband and twin 3-year-old sons. “I want to enjoy this Thanksgiving holiday,” she said. “I don’t want to be cooking in the kitchen the entire day.”
She said she ordered a turkey dinner, complete with trimmings from a local grocery store.
“I am just so looking forward to not having to do all those dishes,” Brassfield said. She said she and her husband are not expecting any visitors for this holiday, so the frozen meal is ideal. “I feel like I am saving time and money,” she said.
Brassfield said she spent last Thanksgiving “in tears.” She said unfamiliar recipes mixed with two needy toddlers was a daunting task. “Last year was awful,” she said. “I swore I would never do that again.”
Oscar Calbera of Albertsons food market said Brassfield is not alone in wanting a stress-free Thanksgiving. Albertsons offers two variations of complete Thanksgiving dinners “to go,” according to Calbera. The deli department worker said he has seen a gradual increase over the last three years in the number of ready-made meals ordered.
“The amount of meals customers ordered this year doubled since last year,” Calbera said.
Debbie Phillips said she plans to spend her holiday in a restaurant atmosphere. She said she has fond childhood memories of bonding over turkey and dressing at the local Furr’s Family Dining Restaurant. Phillips is now employed as the manager of the Furr’s in Clovis and she plans to continue the holiday restaurant tradition by serving a holiday feast to her customers.
The 10-year Furr’s employee said her restaurant generally caters to senior citizens but sees a variety of people on Thanksgiving Day.
“We see a lot of families,” Phillips said. “I think people are just in a hurry these days and most women work.” According to Phillips, the family dining facility will serve traditional fare along with a variety of other culinary choices.
Families choosing to dine out can also enjoy a hot meal at Golden Corral on Thanksgiving Day, according to manager Suzanne Pulz.
Pulz and her daughter are employed by the buffet-style eatery, so her extended family plans to partake of their holiday feast at the restaurant. Pulz said “time permitting,” she will sit down and eat with her family. “I will visit with them either way,” she said.
Pulz said she expects a full house for the holiday service. “There will be a line when we get here,” Pulz said, “because we serve a lot of military personnel who don’t have anywhere else to go.
“We are seeing more and more families, too. People don’t want to spend the entire day cooking when they could be visiting.”
Spending an entire day cooking is an understatement when it comes to Juanita Bara’s Thanksgiving. As a Russell’s SuperSave deli employee in Portales, she has already cooked and assembled several hot, complete turkey dinners for local churches.
“I put 20 turkeys in the oven to slow cook (Monday) night,” Bara said.
According to Bara, the savory birds are part of the complete “to go Thanksgiving meals” the grocery store offered to area residents. “We have been very busy with cooking and taking phone orders,” Bara said. “But I love it.”
The Portales resident said all the cooking she has been doing at work will not keep her out of her kitchen at home.
“We always eat at my mother’s,” Bara said. “I am in charge of yams and cranberries this year.”
The grandmother of two said she will also cook a turkey at her residence because her two grown sons look forward to an annual tradition — turkey burritos.