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Helpful Tips for Thanksgiving

We are at that time of the year, between being awash in pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin and dreading the thought of cooking a turkey. Yes, Thanksgiving is upon us.

If you're not accustomed to cooking for the biggest eating day of the year, don't stress. Here are a few tips to help you out. As a guide for organizing your dinner, you can refer to our blog post from November 2013.

The first tip that lots of people ignore is to plan for the time and the space for your turkey. A frozen 15-pound turkey can take four days to thaw in the refrigerator. Keep the turkey wrapped in its package set on a tray in your refrigerator, so that the seepage from thawing does not drip all over other foods. Second, be sure you have enough space in your oven to cook the turkey. A 15-pound turkey will take about 3-1/2 hours to cook at 325°, plus an additional 30 minutes to rest before carving. (Not for you to rest ... for the turkey to rest!).

Here is where you need to think about where and how to cook your side dishes if the turkey takes up most of the space in your oven. Most side dishes can be made one to three days in advance and kept refrigerated until ready to heat. Our recipes for Savory Sausage Stuffing, Spiced Pomegranate Carrots and new Punjabi Style Pumpkin can all be made ahead. As the turkey is resting, these dishes can be be warmed in the oven or the stovetop. 

The same is true for most desserts. Generally, cakes can be prepared weeks in advance and kept frozen. Pies can easily be prepared one to three days in advance, as well.

Another tip is to accept your guests' offers to contribute a dish. Take it a step further by telling them what you would like them to bring, or you may end up with six different stuffings and eight pumpkin pies.

Try serving your appetizers in the family room instead of the dining room. This is a more casual way to serve, and this way your guests aren't sitting at the table for hours. This also helps keep the guests out of the kitchen. Pumpkin soup can be served in mugs, with a basket of Sweet Potato Biscuits on the side. Assorted cheeses and crudite are easy to put out and don't require heating. Be creative with the cheese board. Try a Seggiano Calabrian Fig Ball, Brie, Chavrie Goat Cheese and Columbus Dry Salami, served with Rustic Bakery flatbreads and crostini. All of these are available in our Cheese & Charcuterie department.

And last, but not least ... ask our caterers to help plan your Thanksgiving menu. We can do the cooking, so all you need to do is heat, serve and enjoy. Now, that's a recipe for a happy Thanksgiving!