Let’s face it, cooking a Thanksgiving dinner can be quite an undertaking. Whether it is a major family function or a gathering of friends, a considerable amount of work is required. First, the house needs to be cleaned (particularly if you are having guests for dinner), not to mention the dishes, pots and pans, glassware and cutlery. Then there is the researching of pertinent recipes in order to establish a menu. This is followed by several trips to the market to shop for everything from appetizers to dessert and everything in-between. On Thanksgiving Day, the kitchen is put into high gear, the likes of which is unlike any other day of the year. There is, of course, never enough counter space or cooking utensils. When dinner time arrives, the meal has to be served at the table, a few thoughtful words are spoken as a prelude to the meal, and everybody “digs in.” Afterwards, the kitchen has to be cleaned, and everything needs to be washed. What little is left of the bird is cutup for later consumption or to be given to guests to enjoy later as a snack. Finally, the garbage has to be disposed of, which can be substantial. Other than this, cooking a Thanksgiving dinner is a piece of cake.

Actually, my family doesn’t mind doing all of this as everyone has learned to pitch-in and help out. If we manage our time properly, it turns into a pleasurable experience as opposed to an imposing task. However, I realize not everyone shares my enthusiasm and, instead, many people loathe the thought of preparing such a meal. It’s not that they don’t know how to make the meal, they just don’t want to expend the energy, preferring to allow someone else to knock him/herself out. As much as they love the meal, they despise the hassle of putting it all together. So much so, they’ve worked out several schemes to avoid cooking, namely:

* Prepare a TV dinner – this requires perhaps the least amount of effort, and will only cost you a couple of bucks. It ultimately depends on whether you want to socialize with anyone this time of year. To recluses with a microwave, this is the preferred meal of choice.

* Go to a restaurant or hotel – there are some rather excellent meals available with all of the trimmings you can imagine, for a price. It will certainly cost more than a TV dinner and will require you to dress up a bit, but it may indeed be worth it, particularly since you will not be asked to clean up afterwards.

* Charitable groups may offer a free dinner, particularly churches, schools, soup kitchens, and groups like the Rotary, Lions, Elks, and Masons. The food may not be home cooking, but you are pretty much guaranteed a square meal (and you can’t beat the price; free). Sometimes, such groups may ask you to assist in the preparation of the meal or the cleanup, such as “busting suds”, dumping garbage or pushing a broom. It ultimately depends on your finances and if you are willing to lift a finger. If your objective is to do nothing, then you might want to ask what is required of you before you accept the meal; either that or sit close to the door so you can make a speedy exit.

* Mooch off a friend, neighbor, or family member – This is perhaps the most common tactic used by people who do not want to cook, by wrangling an invitation into a person’s home where you not only enjoy the meal but socialize and consume their libations. If you are not invited, you have to learn how to hint for one, e.g., “What time should I be there?” Very important though, your presence should not be viewed as a burden, which means you have to socialize and volunteer to help out, such as cleaning up. It is also good form to bring something with you, such as a bottle of wine, flowers, or perhaps a side dish (check with your host/hostess first). Whatever you do, master the art of thanking the host/hostess graciously. The point is, if you contribute nothing, it is highly unlikely you will be invited back.

* Hospitals – It is also possible to check yourself into the hospital for the day, at which time you’ll be treated to a comfortable bed and a full course of some rather bland food. It all depends if your insurance is paid up, otherwise it can be an expensive proposition.

These are just a few of the ways to avoid cooking during Thanksgiving. I’m sure there are many others, but these are the most common. As for me, I simply resign myself to the task and try to make the best of it. Heck, we even have fun.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at [email protected]

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Copyright © 2011 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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