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Thanksgiving on the Go

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At one local market, more and more people are doing Turkey Day the easy way.

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Anne Shaw loves to cook, but she hates doing it for Thanksgiving.

The last time she spent hours laboring in the kitchen for the major feast was five years ago.

“It was a pain,” she said. “And all the stuff I fussed over, they didn’t like.”

Today, the Santa Barbara resident is hosting again, but instead of making a fuss in the kitchen, she decided to go with a faster method: purchasing a pre-packaged Thanksgiving dinner at Gelson’s Market.

 

Apparently, she’s not alone in her desire for a simpler solution.

If Gelson’s Market is a measure, more and more folks are doing Turkey Day the easy way. Every year, demand for the package goes up 17 percent, said service deli manager Julie Belanger.

Over the last seven years, she said, the number of people who pick up the package has doubled, hitting a record 500 this year.

“People just don’t have time to cook, they’re busy with their lives,” Belanger said. “It’s such an easy dinner to heat up and serve.”

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The meals come with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, dinner rolls, cranberry sauce and a couple sides of vegetables. Prices range from $35 for two to $140 for 12.

Because Gelson’s doesn’t have the resources to fully cook 500 dinners, the dinner needs to sit in the oven for a couple hours.

“It doesn’t require any kind of thought, basically,” said service deli employee Kris Arnold.

On Wednesday, the rush to the pre-ordered turkey-dinner counter was steady, and the reasons for choosing the on-the-go option were varied.

Joyce L. Trevillian of Santa Barbara was grabbing a meal for her daughter, who is recovering from knee surgery. The meal for two will be shared with Trevillian’s grandson, she said.

“It’s too much to cook a turkey for two people,” said Trevillian, as she sped away with her cart. “They don’t make turkeys that small. Now I just need to get a pumpkin pie and I’m ready to go.”

Joan Roche of Santa Barbara said she quit cooking the dinner after her husband passed away.

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“I cooked it for 48 years,” said Roche, who will eat a meal for two with her daughter. Of the quality of the food, she said: “My potatoes, I prefer. But the turkey is good.”

Homer Swander of Santa Barbara had a very succinct reason: “I’m just doing what my wife told me to do.”

As for Shaw, she said going all out on Thanksgiving just doesn’t work for her.

“I don’t mind knocking myself out for Christmas Eve dinner,” she said, while placing the package in her shopping cart. “It’s a more expansive holiday. But Thanksgiving, it’s like this one day – then it’s over. I eat and feel like putting my face down on my plate.”

Plus, she said, “I’ve heard their gravy is to die for.”

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