Meal kits are a popular way to get dinner on the table on weeknights, but should they be a way to get dinner on the table on the most food-focused holiday of the year? Should everything you need for Thanksgiving come in one box, pre-measured and ready to throw together?
Martha Stewart is offering a Thanksgiving Box this year with two options: three sides and a pie, or those same three sides, a pie and a turkey that feeds eight to 10 people. Like the Sun Basket Meal kits that I recently tried, there's still some work that needs to be done with Martha's Thanksgiving Box.
I'm not totally against Thanksgiving-in-a-box. It may be the perfect solution for some people for a variety of reasons. But, there are several reasons why shopping for ingredients the old-fashioned way may still be best for most of us.
- You can do a similar meal much less expensively. The three sides and a pie option cost $119. That's $29.75 a dish!
- For an additional $60 you get a turkey. Martha's turkeys are free-range from a farm in New Jersey, and that's good. But shipping a free-range turkey when you can buy a local one is a wasteful, and there's a good chance you can get a local, free-range turkey for less than $60.
- When you choose to buy as much as you can locally for your Thanksgiving dinner, you're giving an end-of-the-growing-season shot of cash to a local farmer or producer. The more they make now, the more they have to get them through the colder months when they don't have much to sell.
- Although much of the packaging with Martha's Thanksgiving Box is recyclable, there's still a lot of plastic packaging. There are also ice packs with a gel inside that need to go in the trash if you aren't going to reuse the ice packs. By carefully shopping from local producers, you can reduce the amount of packaging waste created by your Thanksgiving dinner.
- There are plenty of make-ahead Thanksgiving dishes. This kit might be convenient, but if you do a little bit each day during the days leading up to Thanksgiving, the big day won't be so difficult.
- Instead of the kit's Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranate & Warm Apple Cider Vinaigrette, you can make these Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Orange Butter Sauce.
- Instead of Martha's Classic Stuffing with Fresh Herbs and Dried Cherries, you can make this Hazelnut-Cranberry Stuffing.
- Instead of the Cream Cheese Mashed Potatoes, make simple Creamy Mashed Potatoes that will definitely cost a lot less than $29.75.
- If you're only going to have one pie to choose from on Thanksgiving, shouldn't it be pumpkin pie? That would be my choice, but Martha's only choice is apple — again at the big price tag of $29.75. Make a pie or two of your own like pumpkin or sour cherry, or support a local bakery and buy a pie for half the price.
- If you cook everything yourself, what will you ask the guests to bring?
I'm going the traditional route, but that's my normal. Would you choose to cook Thanksgiving from a box, or would you prefer to do it the traditional way, even if it means a little more work?