My date and I headed to our local on-site diner for Thanksgiving dinner. It promised to be a classy affair, with doting waitstaff, a sophisticated menu, and atmosphere.
We reserved a table for two days ahead of time. We pulled out our holiday finery from our closets. We polished our shoes. And the day came.
We were seated on the tavern side, for it appeared that the fireplace dining room was filled. The tables were covered with black tablecloths, salt and pepper shakers, and a small bowls of canned cranberries. Hanging on the corners were television sets playing an endless loop of snowfalls. Christmas carols played over the speakers.
Our first course was a starter of a shrimp and spinach stuffed portobello mushroom topped with a questionable white clump of what looked like cheese. I think.
Next came the Tossed Thanksgiving Salad, a concoction of arugala and what looked like dandelion leaves. On the side was a plastic container filled with Apple Cider Viniagrette, and a once-frozen baked bread roll.
My date and I decided to order an Old Fashioned cocktail. After all, it was Thanksgiving, and a cocktail would fit the bill.
Then came what the diner touted as the accoutrements: Traditional Stuffing, Sweet Potato Casserole, Green Bean Casserole, and Garlic Mashed Potatoes. Each to me was overly salted, as if the cook was hiding something. I did not eat the Sweet Potato Casserole because of the (bleh) marshmallows in it, and the obviously ton of brown sugar mixed in.
On the same plate was what was called “The Feast.” Roasted Free Range Turkey, and Brown Sugar and Bourbon Glazed Ham. Again, both meats were heavily salted, and the turkey definitely was processed, pressed meat.
Dessert was Homemade Apple Cobbler, super sugary and topped with a squirt of canned whipped cream. I ate a few of the apple slices that I could find under the whipped dairy product and sugar-flour crumb topping.
The funniest part of this event is that the diner touts a chef – a real live, honest-to-goodness chef who brings out all the guns on his menu-planning and originality. I am convinced the diner uses a catering company and short order cook to warm it up, as I wrote about in “Chez Erstatz.”/
I do believe that next year we will either dine at a better restaurant, or just cook at home, which will give us a less processed, less salty, and less sugary dining encounter.
Happy Thanksgiving, and save me the wishbone!
©2022 excerpt from “A Turkey for Thanksgiving”
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