Friday, November 11, 2011





Order a Complete Thanksgiving Meal In-Store or

Online; I've Tested the Menu for You!

Another Exclusive!!!

Last night I attended a tasting of the 2011 Thanksgiving Menu at Whole Foods Bethesda on River Road. I sampled every item that was available - and so can you this Saturday at the store.

In addition, I was able to get some more details about the various menu items from Joana Bragg, who is the Marketing Team Leader for Whole Foods. She also had an interesting bit of trivia for those of you who know that the store was once a Brunswick bowling alley; she said that when Whole Foods tore up the previous tenant's floor (a bookstore), they found the bowling lanes underneath. I grew up here and even I didn't know that.

Well, on to the food...

This Menu represents a sample of just some of the many items you can pre-order and pick up for Thanksgiving at Whole Foods. You can also order online without leaving home!

Fresh, Natural Free-Range Turkey

This was one of the best turkeys I've had. It wasn't very salty, so I'm guessing it wasn't brined. Certainly tender enough, and tough meat is usually my main turkey complaint. The flavor is good, and won't disappoint you if you want a traditional turkey recipe. If you go with the Natural, Free Range option, these turkeys are locally-sourced from Maple Lawn Farms in Fulton, MD. Four generations of the Iager family have been raising and selling holiday turkeys since 1938 (FDR was president at the time). It's great to know that you're getting all of the flavor without any artificial ingredients, antibiotics, etc. And Whole Foods in Maryland is the only place you can buy them, besides from the farm. You're also supporting local farmers in the process.

Traditional Sage Stuffing

Stuffing is always my favorite part. I think the best stuffing is my Mom's, which is a three-generation recipe. This Traditional Sage stuffing has one of the secret ingredients of my Mom's, which is sage, obviously. I thought this was good, but of course, Mom's is better! The main difference is that this didn't have 2 or 3 additional ingredients in the family recipe that I'm used to. But it's certainly going to satisfy the stuffing fan(s) at the table.

Organic Roasted Autumn Vegetables

Usually, I would have mashed potatoes (and there are several versions of those available at Whole Foods). There are potatoes in this vegetable dish, however. I thought these were great. The seasoning was what made all the difference: garlic, extra virgin olive oil, thyme, sea salt and rosemary - all organic. I'd like an extra serving of this. This could be the secret weapon if you know you are going to have someone who doesn't like vegetables at the table!

Butternut Sweet Potato Casserole

I think that's what this was - it was more than just mashed sweet potatoes. Who doesn't like marshmallows and sweet sweet potatoes? I've just never been able to answer the age-old question of whether this is a vegetable or a dessert. So, why not have a bonus dessert during dinner - it's Thanksgiving!

Organic Green Bean Casserole

Why did I like this? Because the mushroom cream sauce with handmade fried onions wasn't just a delicious place for bland, canned green beans to hide. You can put this sauce on anything and it's going to taste good, but these organic green beans are so fresh and tender that you wouldn't need it at all. I can imagine you might just want to order this and the vegetables as side dishes even if you have all the other basics yourself. I'm a Monterey Jack Cheese fan, and it's in there, too! Bring back Monterey Jack Doritos!

Organic Corn Pudding Casserole

This isn't something I would usually eat, mainly because tender corn is hard to come by and I'm not really big on hot puddings. But it turned out to be pretty good, cheesy and sweet at the same time. Feel free to reignite the "vegetable or dessert?" debate here, if necessary.

Hot Apple Cider

Outstanding. Honestly, the best hot cider I've had, and great on a cold and rainy night like last night. I imagine you can buy this from Whole Foods and then heat it up at home on Thanksgiving?

There's my opinion. But this Saturday, you'll be the VIP at Whole Foods on River Road, because they're not only having another Thanksgiving tasting, but they're also going to have even more menu items like seafood.

Too cold to go out? Ordering online is as easy as going to this page:

Scroll down to the big button that has a turkey on it and says, "Share the Flavor, Save the Time" and start selecting your Thanksgiving dinner! You can get a raw turkey to dress yourself, one that's raw but ready to pop in the oven, or one that's completely cooked for you, and all you have to do is heat it up. It doesn't get any easier than that, and you don't have to worry about whether it's done or not, and all the work. There's also a vegan option.

One-stop Thanksgiving shopping, and tomorrow, you can try before you buy. Not a computer person? They're ready to take your order at the store.

The leaf men are collecting the leaves around Bethesda and the Christmas trees are up at Bethesda Row. Along with cooler temperatures, it was a great time for a Thanksgiving dinner, and I thank Whole Foods for inviting me to try out the menu.

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