Eight Excuses (if you need them) for Why You'd Rather Go Out for Thanksgiving

It might be considered heresy to say this, especially on this web site, but sometimes the idea of making Thanksgiving dinner can be way too intimidating, exhausting or stress-inducing even to consider. So if you're the type of person who would rather make reservations than make dinner, feel free to use any one (or all) of these eight excuses for eating out this Thanksgiving:

1. No need to plan. Cooking and serving Thanksgiving dinner takes some serious strategizing; you just can’t wing it. You’ve got to research menus, choose recipes, source ingredients, calculate portions, set and adhere to a budget and schedule, plus plan for any special dietary requirements of your guests. (Is cousin Vanessa a vegan or a lacto-ovo vegetarian?) Sound daunting? This is just the first step!

2. No need to shop. Avoid the crowded parking lots, long lines, and frenzied fellow Thanksgiving hosts and hostesses at your neighborhood supermarket. (Geez! They can sure be cranky when you accidentally mistake their cart for yours!)

3. No need to refrigerate. Keep your GE, Amana or Subzero tidy and organized, because you don’t have to jam in a 15-pound turkey, three pies, a gallon of milk, two cans of whipped cream, a bunch of beets, a dozen oranges, a bag of fresh cranberries, three pounds of butter, two dozen eggs, plus all the other assorted ingredients that need to be kept cool until they’re needed in a recipe.

4. No need to cook. When you don’t have to cook, you can actually spend your day off work -- are you ready for this? -- not working!

5. No need to clean. When you don’t have to clean, you can actually spend your day off work... (see number four, above).

6. No need to assess the damages. Chances are, you’ll get a cranberry stain on the white linen tablecloth you just paid too much for at Williams Sonoma. Or you’ll find candied yams smashed into your recently cleaned carpet. Or your Wedgwood serving plate -- the one you got as a wedding gift from Aunt Helen but have used exactly twice in 12 years -- will get chipped. Or your drain will clog because too many potato peels are stuck in the garbage disposal, so you’ll have to pay a plumber the holiday rate of $140 per hour to fix it.

7. No need to make good use of your leftovers. Three days after Thanksgiving, do you still want to be eating turkey sandwiches? I doubt it.

8. No need to compromise. You can get a locally-sourced, traditionally prepared Thanksgiving dinner -- without the work, the hassle, or the stress -- at FireLake Grill House. FireLake's executive chef, Paul Lynch, is committed to utilizing local and sustainable foods from Minnesota’s farmers and producers. That’s evident in what he’s offering for Thanksgiving dinner. Take a look at the menu:

- Wild Acres Farm Turkey, cider cured, apple-wood smoked
- Wild-rice stuffing
- Cheddar-herb mashed potatoes
- Cider gravy
- Gathered green salad
- Maple-glazed yams and apples
- Green beans, crimini mushrooms and crispy shallots
- Cranberry-orange relish
- Deep-dish pumpkin and cranberry pie

The price for adults is $29.95; for children 6 to 12, $12.95. You can make reservations by calling 612-216-FIRE (3473) or visiting the FireLake web site.

If you know of any other Twin Cities-area restaurants offering a no-planning, no-shopping, no-refrigerating, no-cooking, no-cleaning, no damage-assessing, no leftover-eating, no compromising Thanksgiving dinner, please let us know by adding a comment.