Thanksgiving in a restaurant

November 26, 2009

If you're eating Thanksgiving dinner in a restaurant today, you aren't alone: 11% of Americans dine out on Thanksgiving.

The reasons for this are many. Some people do not cook. Some do cook, but prefer to avoid the stress that comes with preparing the year's largest meal. Some individuals or small families live far from their extended family, and cooking Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings simply does not make sense. Some people cannot afford to go home. Groups of young, single adult friends may not have the apartment space to host a gathering.

I've spent two Thanksgivings in restaurants, both during college when I was on the East Coast and my family was on the West Coast. The first time was at a classy establishment in New York City with my family, where we enjoyed a multi-course meal of slightly-updated versions of holiday classics. The second time, two years later, was just a close friend and me. Both too busy with our senior projects to go home, we met in Boston to eat Thanksgiving dinner at an upscale Indian Restaurant on Newbury Street. Though the menu included turkey curry and cranberry chutney, we ordered what we would have ordered on any other occasion (muttar paneer for me, chicken korma for her); it didn't seem right to pretend the meal was something it was not.

Still, while neither of these experiences were what I was used to, neither were half bad. Absent were smell of the bird roasting in the oven for hours, my grandmother's famous rolls, and jellied cranberry sauce, but the day was relaxed and enjoyable for everyone. Thanksgiving is about showing gratitude and spending time with loved ones, not just the food. Will you be spending this Thanksgiving in a restaurant? I'm curious to hear about your experience

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