The holidays begin in less than four weeks. It has always been a major hassle for my wife and me to prepare, serve and clean up. My daughters and their families are there to help but it still requires a tremendous amount of time and effort. This year we made a decision to buy prepared dinners from our local grocery store. We settled on a turkey dinner and ham dinner for Thanksgiving and two of the prime rib dinners for Christmas.
My daughters and their husbands volunteered to split the cost of the four dinners which served to move it from the idea stage to the definite stage. The cost of the dinners is reasonable—especially with all of us sharing it equally—so that brought it down to the issue of quality. After all, you don’t want substandard food on the biggest feasting holidays of the year.
I decided to find out just how good the dinners were. I waited until mid-afternoon when the business in the delicatessen had slowed down considerably and then walked up to the counter and asked for the manager. I wanted my wife to come with me but she had the idea that we shouldn’t put the store staff through a taste test of the dinners—which is what I wanted.
Both daughters were working so I was on my own. I certainly was not reticent about what I was going to ask for; after all, we were going to spend approximately $300 on this venture. The manager walked out from the kitchen and I explained that I wanted to sample as much of the dinners as possible.
The guy was very agreeable and immediately set about rounding up samples of the various foods. The dinners are purchased from the manufacturer by the grocer already cooked and packaged. The grocer then organizes them into the respective dinner combination. The customer then picks up the refrigerated dinner and heats it at home.
For samples, the manager took out a plate and sliced off prime rib onto it from a piece he was selling as one of the dinner entrées on the hot foods counter. He placed stuffing, gravy and a combination of carrots and sweet potatoes on the plate from the foods on the side-dish section of the counter. He had to open some packages of turkey and ham but assured me he would sell them out the next day on the hot counter as a lunch or dinner.
Everything looked very attractive and tasted extremely good. I even asked him to make up a sample plate to take home to my wife so she could try it and not worry about the quality all the way up to Thanksgiving.