In the spirit of Thanksgiving, many of us, like the Pilgrims, extend invitations for a celebratory dinner to large groups of friends and family. Then, when acceptances come pouring in, we may well wonder how to feed everyone.
Unlike our ancestors, we don't have to trap, shoot or harvest the food we eat. Still, some of us have ovens or refrigerators too small for a large bird, or we don't have time to cook after work. With the help of the butcher shops listed below, which sell delicious pre-cooked turkeys and side dishes, anyone can serve a sumptuous holiday meal.
Try to order your bird, gravy and stuffing as far in advance as possible. Remember that many shops close on the holiday; you may have to pick up your order the day before.
There's a toll-free turkey line, if you have any questions about preparation of leftovers (or about cooking your own turkey): Call Butterball Turkey Talk-Line (800) 323-4848 Monday-Friday through Dec. 24 6 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday and Nov. 22-23 6 a.m.-4 p.m.; Thanksgiving Day 4 a.m.-5 p.m., and Christmas Eve 6 a.m.-4 p.m. Also available is a free booklet.
The Department of Agriculture has a home economist to answer questions at the Meat and Poultry Hotline at (800) 535-4555 Monday-Friday 7 a.m.-1 p.m. Recording delivers message at other times.
Beef Shoppe--2650 Del Mar Heights Road, Del Mar, (619) 481-1461. Open Monday-Saturday 7 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sundays 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Thanksgiving Day 8 a.m.-10 a.m. Be sure to order by Nov. 22. The Mobley family will be cooking turkeys all night, as they have for the last 10 years, to fill orders for their Zacky Farm birds. They charge $1.49 per pound plus $12 for rotisserie-roasted turkeys up to 30 pounds, and for stuffed birds (bread-apple-sausage stuffing) add $9. Giblets to make your own gravy are free.
Chalet Gourmet--7880 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood, (213) 874-6301. Open daily 9 a.m.-9 p.m., including Thanksgiving Day. Pre-order by Nov. 23. Huntsinger turkeys from 12 to 25 pounds are $2.59 a pound, including cooking charge. Also available are apple, oyster or bread stuffings at $5.99 a quart, giblet gravy at $2.99 a pint and fresh cranberry sauce at $5.49 a quart.
Country Meat Market--5925 Calle Real, Goleta, (805) 964-3811. Open Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Orders must be in by Nov. 25. Frank Serbus roasts fresh Huntsinger turkeys for $1.39 a pound, plus a $10 cooking charge. (This price is only for Thanksgiving.) Bread stuffing is $1.98 per pound, and half a gallon of gravy is $3.98. Complete turkey dinners that include turkey, dressing, candied yams, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, rolls and butter and pumpkin pie with whipped cream are $7.95 and $8.95 per person with a 10-person minimum.
Gelson's--4738 Laurel Canyon Blvd., North Hollywood, (818) 760-6662. Other locations throughout the city. Open daily 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Closed Thanksgiving Day. Order at least 48 hours in advance. If your local store doesn't cook on the premises, they will order your bird from another store. Fresh, roasted turkeys from 10 to 12 pounds are the only sizes available at $3.29 per pound plus $8.50 cooking charge. They also have apple and corn-bread stuffings at $3.99 per pound, cranberries mixed with pears, apples and pineapple at $4.29 per pound, ginger-and-yam souffle at $4.29 per pound and pumpkin pudding at $4.19.
Irvine Ranch Market--24 Fashion Island, Newport Beach, (714) 760-1100. See phone directory for other Southern California locations. Open daily 8 a.m.-10 p.m. and 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Thanksgiving Day. Order your turkey at least one week in advance to pick up by Nov. 26. Instructions for cooking come with each turkey. Price for 10- to 12-pound turkey dinner that includes two quarts of herb or fruit stuffing, one quart of gravy, one pint of cranberry/pineapple relish is $45. But they will also roast the turkeys bought in their store (at $1.29-$1.59 per pound) for $1.50 per pound. Candied yams, creamed corn, green beans with bacon, buttered carrots and mashed potatoes are some of the side dishes you can purchase here. Extra gravy and dressing will also be available. Mission Viejo, San Diego and Fashion Island will be their only area stores doing entire dinners.
Jurgensen's--842 E. California Blvd., Pasadena, (818) 792-3121. Other locations, 133 N. Larchmont Blvd., Los Angeles, (213) 469-1901; 409 N. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills, (213) 274-8611; 1172 Linda Vista Ave., Pasadena, (818) 796-9191. All stores open daily 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Closed Sundays and Thanksgiving Day. Orders must be made three days in advance of holiday. Turkeys specially bred for this store are $1.59 a pound, plus $21.50 cooking charge, with herb stuffing at $2.75 a pound and giblet gravy $2.75 per quart.