While some people were seemingly born to be at-home chefs, others definitely aren't, and that's totally okay. If the idea of prepping a multi-course Thanksgiving meal complete with appetizers, turkey, sides, salads, and desserts sounds completely overwhelming, don't worry—you're not alone. Luckily, skipping the cooking doesn't mean you can't host a fantastic Friendsgiving or traditional Thanksgiving dinner: You can fake the holiday. Translation: You can tap culinary genius Martha Stewart for help because she's selling a Thanksgiving dinner through Williams Sonoma. "We do all the hard work for you—you serve a delicious holiday meal without all the muss and fuss," Martha explains on her new venture. No muss and no fuss? Sign us up!
Dubbed the Martha Stewart Complete Thanksgiving Dinner, the meal comes with some of Martha’s favorite foods and recipes, including a 12- to 14-pound turkey, mushroom stuffing, celery root and potato purée, cauliflower custard, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, and apple cranberry crisp.
We decided to try out this service before Thanksgiving and organized a dinner party on a random Sunday night. The verdict? The meal was incredibly appetizing, and we all agreed (even the real foodies): We would order it again. Why? Because once plated, you’d never know it was not made from scratch, either in taste or appearance.
To help you decide if going the pre-made meal route is for you, we broke the experience down by pros and cons.
Pro: The turkey ships right to your door, frozen and vacuum-sealed from Willie Bird’s Turkey in Sonoma County, California, a premier poultry farm that has been raising and selling turkeys for over 50 years. The bird arrived separately from the side dishes and dessert, but on the same day—good coordination on Williams Sonoma's part.
Con: A much-needed piece of information was left blank on the turkey wrapping—the weight of the bird. Luckily, the box the turkey arrived in was still in my outdoor recycling bin, and the weight was stamped on the label.
Pro: The sides! The sweet potato purée, made with browned butter maple syrup, was creamy and super colorful. The softly baked cauliflower was covered in a gooey Parmigiano Reggiano and Gruyere cheese. The stuffing consisted of three types of mushrooms—shitake, oyster, and cremini—with added leeks and herbs. The cobbler, which baked while we ate our main course, was a flavorful mix of apples, cranberries, peaches, and blueberries, all topped with crumble.
If you want to take care of the turkey yourself, consider letting Martha Stewart and Williams Sonoma handle the sides. Order Sides Bundle, and you'll definitely alleviate some of your stress.
Con: This meal is missing a proper green vegetable. A creamed spinach or green bean casserole or some roasted Brussels sprout dish would have been nice on the menu. Also, if your group likes traditional, fluffy mashed potatoes, then the mush-like celery root and Yukon gold potato purée might not check the box. Finally, because people sometimes forget the gravy, we would have included a jar of gravy starter in this package.
Pro: All the sides are cooked at the same temperature (375 degrees Fahrenheit), so everything can heat up together. The sides bake at different times (meaning, the stuffing is in the oven for 75 minutes, the cauliflower for 45 minutes, etc.), so you just have to schedule cooking times carefully.
Con: All of this reheating could be difficult to pull off if you don’t have a double oven. (Microwaving the sides is not suggested, but if you must, wait to microwave until everything has thawed.) One way around this: Belle English, who works in the Williams Sonoma test kitchen, recommends heating the sides 80% of the way, covering them with foil, and letting them rest while the turkey cooks. When the turkey is done, Belle suggests throwing the sides back into the oven to finish. No matter how you heat things up, be sure to stir the contents of the sides a few times during the process.
Pro: Your family won’t go hungry as the portions are more than generous. There easily could have been enough food for nine or 10 people.
Con: You might need to bulk up on the dessert with a supplemental pie or some other treat.
Pro or Con: The full meal comes out to about $44 per person (not including tax or shipping charges). More expensive than if you went shopping for ingredients at your local grocery store, but competitive if you were thinking about going out to a nice restaurant on an expensive holiday.