"Thanksgiving dinners take 18 hours to prepare. They are consumed in 12 minutes." -Erma Bombeck (the sage of Dayton)

“Thanksgiving dinners take 18 hours to prepare. They are consumed in 12 minutes.” —Erma Bombeck (the sage of Dayton)

Our nationally sanctioned celebration of gluttony is a day every American eagerly anticipates — unless you don’t have plans or are on the hook for cooking up the damn Thanksgiving meal yourself. In either case, I have two suggestions: A) Start shopping for your Thanksgiving needs immediately, beginning (and maybe ending) at the liquor store; B) Get the turkey off your back by allowing trustworthy professionals to whip up your feast (it’s probably cheaper than you think), while you relax, maybe enjoy some invited guests, and reap in kinda-deserved compliments. If you opt for stress-free Plan B, here are some tempting portable parties from dependable sources.

P.S. Most of these places have an “order by date,” so make the call soon. Then waste time when it matters.

P.P.S. The following tabs range from under $10 to $25 per person. That’s not bad, when you factor in the cost of all those wobbly cartloads of groceries.

No Small Fry

At Double Comfort

This finger lickin’ fried chicken specialist is going hot turkey for the holiday. If you’ve never tried deep-fried turkey, I can testify that its crackly skin and juicy meat are things of beauty and wonder. But since it’s a royal pain (and dangerous) to toss unwieldy huge birds into gallons of gurgling oil — I can vouch for that: ouch — all hail this king of comfort for doing your dirty work. DC’s feeds-four-to-six Thanksgiving spread includes half a fresh, locally raised fried turkey, plus this slew of scratch-made fixins: redskin mashed potatoes; coleslaw fashioned with local cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cilantro and an aggressive vinaigrette; oyster stuffing created with DC’s homemade “sizzling bacon cornbread”; cranberry relish; and the restaurant’s rib-sticking garlicky mac & cheese. But wait, there’s more! DC is also baking you a sweet potato pie using tubers from nearby farms and Snowville Creamery cream.

Double Comfort Restaurant

?505 N. High St., Short North

614-745-2183

doublecomfortrestaurant.com

Pre-order by: Tuesday, Nov. 25

Pick up: No later than 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 26

Bill: $100

Extras: Since DC donates some of its proceeds to local food pantries, you get “holiday do-gooder” cred.

Beer Here

At Smokehouse Brewing Company

Real barbecue, superb suds, plus an arsenal of comfort-bomb sides all loaded into a feeds eight-to-12 “Feast to Go”? That’s my kind of one-stop shopping. Smokehouse, a great veteran microbrewery sometimes overlooked in the bluster over the NEXT BIG THING “craft beer,” is including a half gallon of its famous Christmas ale in this mammoth, give-thanks package. OK, to the meat of the matter: customers choose between — and these will all be hickory-smoked — herb-rubbed turkey (about 12.5 pounds), dry-rubbed pork shoulder (about 17.5 pounds), or spice-rubbed Texas brisket (12.5 pounds). Each huge haul also includes two quarts of buttermilk-chive smashed potatoes, two quarts of “traditional” stuffing (with sage, celery and onion), two pounds of green beans (seasoned with red peppers and onions), plus a quart of herbed brown gravy.

Smokehouse Brewing Company

1130 Dublin Rd., Grandview

614-485-0227

smokehousebrewing.com

Pre-order by: Sunday, Nov. 23

Pick up: Thanksgiving Day, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.

Bill: The turkey and pork shoulder party packs (with the beer and sides) are each $99, and the brisket package is $109.

Extras: A quart of pineapple-perked cranberry sauce costs $10, and two quarts of bourbon mashed sweet potatoes go for $13.

No Muss, No Fuss and Not Much Bucks

At Weiland’s Market

More than half a century old, Weiland’s has been serving “foodies” long before that word existed. Now this Clintonville stalwart is looking out for Turkey Day celebrants prone to fighting over white meat and drumsticks. See, Weiland’s will cook, slice and pre-portion-out your entire feast — which will arrive in a heat-n-eat “shipping box.” Designed for diners who seek old-fashioned homemade flavors and old-fashioned prices, it includes (this is per person): half a pound of Ohio-raised, free-range roasted turkey (three-fourths of it white meat); two rolls with butter; five ounces each of harvest corn (with butter and parsley), mashed ’taters, sage/onion-flavored cornbread dressing and green beans almondine, plus a half-cup of cranberry salad.

Weiland’s Market

3600 Indianola Ave., Clintonville

614-267-9878

weilandsmarket.com

Pre-order by: Saturday, Nov. 22

Pick up: By Wednesday, Nov. 26

Bill: $15 per person, minimum order of six.

Extras: In the days before the holiday — through Thanksgiving eve — you can probably get versions of this meal (even for single eaters) in Weiland’s hot case; supplemental sides available ($5/pound) include roasted Brussels sprouts with dried cranberries, corn pudding and creamed spinach.

Go Cheap And Get Lucky

At Lucky’s Market

Newsflash: Local, healthy and organic foods can have bold flavors — and needn’t cost, umm, “Whole Paycheck” prices. This explains why, over the past year, this relative newcomer has cultivated a huge following of smart shoppers. Shoppers smart enough to let Lucky’s handle their Thanksgiving Day spread will get a steal of a heat-n-eat deal that conservatively claims to feed four-to-six — but looks like it’d serve a lot more. It stars a 14-pound whole roasted turkey basted with maple butter. Adding to the fun (most sides will be about 1.5 pounds) are “classic” russet mashers with butter and cream, turkey gravy, traditional sage-herb stuffing made with artisan bread; green beans almondine, fresh cranberry relish, and rolls.

Lucky's Market

2770 N. High St., Clintonville

614-447-0258

luckysmarket.com/location/columbus

Pre-order by: Monday, Nov. 24 (this is flexible, as late orders will be considered)

Pick up: Wednesday, Nov. 26 (also flexible)

Bill: $60

Extras: Party starter platters available for $20 include an antipasti set (cured Italian meats, fresh mozzarella, kalamata olives, artichoke hearts and grilled veggies); and a Mediterranean snack pack (stuffed grape leaves, olives, feta cheese, grilled pita, tabouli, roasted red peppers and artichoke hearts).

Boombox

At Cameron Mitchell Catering

Warning: Before reading any more, doublecheck the pre-order date below! OK, we can waddle forward now. “This Thanksgiving, give thanks for not cooking” it says on the website of this respected old pro. I couldn’t have said it better — and couldn’t cook it better — than this feeds-10, heat-n-eat smorgasbord. The box offer’s star is a 12-pound whole roasted turkey brined to ensure the kind of juiciness too often missing from home-cooked birds. Also included are half-size foil restaurant pans (about 11-by-13 inches and 2.5 inches deep) of scratch made: buttermilk mashed potatoes, herbed brioche stuffing, fresh cranberry relish, and the beloved green bean casserole. Playing important supporting roles are sourdough bread with whipped butter and a quart of natural pan gravy. You won’t be left hanging on the dessert front either, as the box will also contain your choice of a whole pumpkin pie (with cinnamon shortbread crust and white chocolate mousse), an Oreo crust peanut butter pie, or a mutsu apple cobbler with drop biscuit crust.

Cameron Mitchell Catering

7619 Huntington Park Dr., Crosswoods

614-848-4700

catering.cameronmitchellpremierevents.com

Pre-order by: Thursday, Nov. 20

Pick up: Wednesday (12-5 p.m.), Nov. 26

Bill: $250

Extras: a stunning bonanza of appetizers, dips and soups are available for purchase (see website)

Pig Out

At RayRay’s Hog Pit

The “Q” so nice they named it twice is providing diners with multiple stomach-growl-inducing options. The finicky white meat set can get conveniently de-boned and ready-to-slice smoked turkey breasts weighing 6-8 pounds (serves 10-14) for $60-$80. If any in your group also digs wishbones or legs and wings big enough to gnaw on all day long, RayRay’s whole smoked turkey hens (12 pound average, feeds eight-to-12) are going for $70. If “the other white meat” is calling — actually make that pink — pork is on the shopping block in the form of RayRay’s famous brown sugar-glazed whole pit hams, which should serve 10-18 (they’re 7-9 pounds each, and cost $60-$80).

Ray Ray's Hog Pit

2619 N. High St., North Campus

614-753-1191

Pre-order by: Sunday, Nov. 23

Pick up: Thanksgiving Day, 12-4 p.m.

Extras: Side-wise, $12 buys a quart of mashed potatoes with gravy or flavorful green beans. If you wanna go whole hog — you’ll need a lotta friends, or will make them quickly when you tell them about this — target RayRay’s Ultimate Package. That $160 smoky onslaught (serves 18-26) buys a RayRay’s 7-pound ham plus 6- to 8-pound turkey breast, and 2 quarts each of green beans and mashers.

Photos by Meghan Ralston