By TEDDYE SNELL
A little over a week from today, families across Cherokee County will sit down together for a Thanksgiving feast – whether it’s at home, or at a restaurant, community dinner or church.
In the meantime, shopping and preparations for the feasts are running at a quick pace. Grocery stores were busy throughout the past weekend, and carts were brimming with all the trimmings, including turkeys, hams, potatoes, sweet potatoes, celery, bread crumbs for stuffing and sweets for desserts.
Each year, Reasor’s offers options through its deli holiday dinner program for those who may like to spend less time cooking and more time enjoying their families.
Holiday dinners range in size and price from feeding two to three people turkey breast and fixings for under $30, to a deluxe prime dinner that serves six to eight for a little over $100.
Reasor’s Deli Manager Rachel Woodward said early orders have been brisk this year.
“It seems like people are putting in their orders even earlier this year,” said Woodward.
“Last year, we completed about 330 for Thanksgiving, and it looks like we’ll be even busier this year.”
Woodward said the No. 3 deluxe turkey dinner is by far the most popular among local residents.
“I’d have to say the No. 3 is what we get the most orders for,” said Woodward. “It comes with enough to feed a large family and has the most side dishes.”
According to the Reasor’s sale circular, the No. 3 dinner feeds 10-12 people, and includes a 10- to 12-pound fully cooked turkey, either oven roasted or smoked; 2 pounds of giblet gravy, 3 pounds of mashed potatoes, 3 pounds of homestyle cornbread dressing; 2 pounds of cranberry pecan salad, one dozen Hawaiian dinner rolls and one 8-inch pumpkin pie.
“The deadline for ordering dinners is 9 p.m., Monday, Nov. 25,” said Woodward. “That said, we’ll go ahead and continue selling any turkeys we have while supplies last, but not complete dinners.”
Deadline for picking up pre-ordered dinners is 3 p.m., Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28. The deli closes at 5 p.m. that day. Those who don’t care for carving their birds also have options. Reasor’s will de-bone the turkey, but at an extra cost: $22.
Those who would prefer a protein other than turkey won’t be left out, either.
“If you’re looking to feed anywhere from six to 12 people, we also offer ham and prime rib dinners,” said Woodward.
Ham dinners are available for 10-12 people, and prime rib dinners are available for those looking to feed six to eight people, and come in two varieties.
Home cooks looking at different options
Since the advent of Pinterest, some home cooks are changing up their holiday menus after having perused the photos on the social website.
Patti Gulager has shared her Thanksgiving menu with her Facebook friends. Gulager, like many pinners, has linked her Pinterest page to her Facebook.
“Well, if you are on my Facebook [friends list], you will see all the [Pinterest] recipes I have,” said Gulager. “The dessert and the appetizers will come from [those pins], along with the old-fashioned chocolate pie, the pumpkin pie and the pecan pie. I feed an army, so we have plenty.”
Olga Hoenes won’t have many people coming, and she’s opting for a take-and-bake meal this year.
“I have about decided to do Cajun Eds from Tulsa,” said Hoenes.
“I just cook and eat. They do all the prep. I won’t have many people at my house for Thanksgiving, so I’m really leaning toward mail-ordering Thanksgiving [dinner].”
Cathy Cott will rely on time-honored family recipes this Thanksgiving.
“I don’t mess with success,” said Cott. “If I didn’t make my grandma’s pumpkin pie, I’d be homeless.”
Churches providing free meals
A number of area churches are hosting free Thanksgiving dinners Sunday, Nov. 24, including Park Hill Presbyterian Church after the 11 a.m. worship service; Barber Baptist Church, 5 p.m.; and Steeley Springs Baptist, 5 p.m.
Cookson United Methodist Church plans two Thanksgiving events: a fundraising Thanksgiving Dinner from 5 to 7 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 23, and a free event for people in need from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 28. Cost to attend the fundraising event is $6 for adults and $3 for children
Proceeds will be used to support the United Methodist Women’s group in mission activities. Both events will be held in the fellowship hall of the church at 21685 W. Cookson Bend Road. For more information, call (918) 457-5717.
Crescent Valley Baptist Church will host its Feed Tahlequah event from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 24, at the Cherokee County Community Building, 908 S. College Ave.