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Turkey-in-a-box keeps some out of the kitchen

November 24, 1999|By BRUCE HAMILTON

On this day of thanks, some are simply grateful to avoid cooking.

A hard day's work in the kitchen may be a Thanksgiving tradition, but alternatives abound. Restaurants and stores offer culinary convenience for those who can't or don't want to cook.

Can't face the oven? Eat elsewhere. Tired? Try turkey to go.

Ready-made meals are available at several local grocery stores. At Martin's Food Market, Butterball-in-a-box goes for $32.99 and comes with a $3 rebate.

It includes a 10- to 12-pound cooked turkey, three pounds of stuffing, three pounds of mashed potatoes, two pounds of gravy, a pound of cranberry sauce and a nine-inch pumpkin pie. It serves six to eight people (or more for light eaters).

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"They are very popular," said Karen May, deli manager at the Dual Highway store, which had taken 35 orders by Tuesday.

People buy them for elderly who are shut in and needy families, according to May. "There's quite a few people who do that and I think it's great," she said.

Those with hectic lifestyles enjoy the product because it doesn't take a lot of preparation. The item isn't frozen, so one only has to heat and serve.

"We hand them the box and they're ready to go," May said.

Food Lion offers a similar deal. A precooked Butterball meal goes for $34.99, or $29.99 with a free MVP shopping card. It has slightly smaller portions, including an 8- to 10-pound turkey, two pounds of stuffing and mashed potatoes.

The North Pointe Drive store has another $23.99 meal, $19.99 with MVP card, fresh from the deli. It includes an 8- to 10-pounder, two pounds of stuffing, one pound of gravy and a pound of Ocean Spray cranberry sauce.

Deli worker Jeanette Simms said the store had about 35 orders Tuesday.

Boston Market on Wesel Boulevard offers "banquet meals" that serve from six to 24 people and range in price from $34.99 to $129.99. A three-pound turkey breast can be purchased separately for about $20, according to General Manager Ernie Finiff.

The banquet includes turkey or ham, cornbread, and a choice of three to 12 side orders, depending on the size. Sides include: mashed potatoes, stuffing, sweet potatoes, corn, cranberry relish and cinnamon apples.

Feasts outside the home range in price and place. For $16.95, Tortuga Restaurant offers a Thanksgiving buffet. "It's actually quite a spread," said Toni Bosamonte, dining room supervisor. She said 500 reservations were made before Tuesday.

From noon to 5 p.m., diners can choose between Virginia baked ham, roast turkey, crab imperial with hollandaise sauce, Louisiana shrimp and sausage jambalaya, chicken with apple glaze and lots of side dishes.

Denny's restaurant offers a $9.99 turkey dinner. It comes with salad or soup, a slice of pie and a choice of two sides. Drinks are sold separately.

Those in search of a Thanksgiving meal can stop in at the Dual Highway restaurant any time.

"We're open all day," said Manager Robert Ramsburg.

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