Thanksgiving to go

November 12, 1998

By KATE COLEMAN / Staff Writer

photos: JOE CROCETTA / staff photographer

"Over the river and through the woods to grandmother's house we go ..."

Maybe not. As part of a growing trend, people are taking advantage of Thanksgiving-to-go at area restaurants and grocery stores.

Clay Rohrer wants to get one thing straight. His wife always cooks Thanksgiving dinner, and she'll be cooking again for the immediate family of six or seven people this year.

But another turkey is coming to dinner. Rohrer will be bringing home a smoked bird from Kerch's Southern Barbecue in Hagerstown. He says it tastes just as good - if not better - cold, and the family can enjoy it through the weekend.


--cont. from lifestyle--

Jim Kercheval, owner of both Kerch's Hagerstown restaurants, has been reconfiguring his cookers for about 8 years at Thanksgiving and Christmas to accommodate 9- to 10-pound turkeys.

Thelma and HaroldThelma and Harold "Wick" Brewer of Hagerstown frequently eat at Antrim House Family Restaurant at Fountain Head Plaza. Their son usually visits between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and Thelma Brewer cooks the holiday dinner. This year, she has a really good excuse for eating Antrim House carryout on Thanksgiving. She's having knee surgery the day before the holiday.

The Hagerstown restaurant will be open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., says manager Kevin Benner. He's expecting about 600 to 800 dine-in guests and other carryout diners.

Boston Market on Wesel Boulevard in Hagerstown will be open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thanksgiving Day. Customers can order turkey - rotisserie-roasted breasts whole or sliced, ham and an array of banquet-size side dishes, including made-from-scratch mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry-walnut relish and cornbread.

Manager Ernie Finiff says it's better to order early, but the eatery will take orders as late as the day before the holiday. The Boston Market chain of nearly 900 restaurants in 33 states and the District of Columbia is capitalizing on the national takeout trend, according to information in a corporate press release.

Grocery stores are part of the "home meal solution" trend, according to Denny Hopkins, spokesman for Giant Food Stores Inc. which operates Martin's Food Markets in the Tri-State area. Precooked turkeys and all the fixings will be available to go.

The way life has become, busy people from all income levels and walks of life are buying prepared foods, Hopkins says. "We consider restaurants and fast foods competition."

"Time is of the essence to everyone these days," says Mary Ann Oyler, family and consumer science agent, Franklin County Penn State Cooperative Extension.

Seth and JillThis Thanksgiving, for the second year in a row, County Market will be cooking Jill Bernhisel's dinner. Before her dad died two years ago, he always took her family out for holiday dinners.

Some people like to choose their turkey before it is cooked, but Bernhisel, of Hagerstown, says she doesn't know anything about that.

"You pick it, I'll buy it," she says she told Tara Taylor, County Market's deli manager. She also ordered a ham.

Taylor says mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing and green beans amandine also are available. Dinner comes in an aluminum pan, ready for the oven.

Time not spent cooking is time Bernhisel can spend with her sons, Jason Pitsnogle, 13, and 6-year-old Seth Bernhisel. They'll have their Thanksgiving dinner at noon or 1 p.m., use paper plates - "Isn't that awful?" Bernhisel asks - and be together at the bowling alley when it opens at 5 p.m.

Oyler cautions people to pay attention to safety standards when transporting foods. She describes 40 to 140 degrees as a danger zone. If you are refrigerating cooked food, cool it as quickly as possible. When reheating food, do it quickly and well.

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