A Very Costco Thanksgiving: Feeding 8 People for $80 (Plus the Cost of Pie)
The packaging actually doesn't lie in this case.
Good: Pre-cooked, so you won't kill anyone if it's still a bit frozen inside. Dark meat surprisingly juicy and moist, especially if you follow the instructions and baste the turkey every 15 minutes.
Bad: Way too heavy on the sage rub, which tastes like dumping a jar of dried spices into your mouth. White meat dry. Skin mostly tough.
Too heavy on the sage, but surprisingly fluffy.
Good: Nice, fluffy texture that was a shock considering the amount of ice crystals in the plastic bag and the fact that we took the easy route and ran the stuffing through the microwave instead of putting it in the oven for 45 minutes.
Bad: Like the turkey, way too heavy on the sage. Also, super salty.
Garlic Confit Mashed Potatoes
The best of the lot.
Good: Everyone agreed these were the best item of the night, with a creamy texture and strong roasted garlic flavor. They looked the scariest of all the dishes when warming on the stovetop, but ended up looking the nicest on the table. Perfect amount of salt.
Bad: If you're not a garlic fan, you may find the flavor and scent overwhelming. And if you're a chunky mashed potato fan (or hate mashed potatoes that have been put through a ricer), you may find the texture off-putting.
Good: They were green?
Bad: Antithetically, these were by far the worst of the box. "They squeak when you bite into them," my mother said with a sad look on her face. The green beans did not remotely resemble the long, elegant haricot verts on the box but rather the dull green beans that are dumped from a 10-pound can into a steam table tray at your local high school cafeteria. (If your high school still even serves vegetables to its kids anymore). The sheer amount of butter, onions and garlic in the beans were overwhelming as well.
Looks-wise, these could totally pass as homemade.
Good: These were the runner-up to the mashed potatoes, especially in terms of appearances. They genuinely resembled something you could have made yourself at home, cubed and roasted in the oven.
Bad: The flavor was too clove-heavy for most people, and even I could only eat a few bites before the sweetness became too cloying.
Good: It was gravy.
Bad: It was gravy. There's not much to say here. I think it was mostly cornstarch and brown food coloring, but it was inoffensive and tempered the salt in the cornbread stuffing.
It certainly looked pretty.
If you are the type of person who desperately wants to host Thanksgiving in your own home but doesn't want to/doesn't know how to cook and also somewhat dislikes the people you're inviting over, this box is for you. It definitely cooks up in the promised 90-minute timespan, although that time could be better spent eating out at a restaurant that's open on Thanksgiving Day.
My friend Gardy was smiling silently towards the end of the meal, and simply said: "I've been eating nothing but salads for the past 20 days, so this was all great." The rest of us were mostly put off by Fakesgiving.
I can absolutely see how every item in this box could be passed off as something you made yourself -- especially if you discard all the cardboard and plastic evidence -- because it has those same ups and downs found in a Thanksgiving meal made by someone who only halfway knows what they're doing. And for only $80, it's a helluva lot less than you'd spend actually fucking up a raw, unseasoned turkey or mashing your own potatoes. The Costco-made pumpkin pie -- again, not included -- was the best part of the overall meal, with a buttery crust and deftly spiced pumpkin puree.
Another reason to eat out: Clean-up is a bitch.
However, if you're just lazy and looking for a cheap Thanksgiving dinner option, do what every lonely college kid does at the holidays: Invite yourself to someone else's home, then fall asleep on his or her couch afterward in the pleasant haze of tryptophan and the knowledge that you didn't spend a dime.
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