Friday, November 29, 2013

No Buffet for Thanksgiving This Year

For the past several years we have had Thanksgiving dinner at Old Country Buffet. I know that it appears at times that I don't like OCB, but we have more buffet meals at OCB than any other. The reason is that OCB is the only "American" buffet in this area and any other involves leaving the state.

This year we decided that we would make Thanksgiving dinner at home. There are somethings about a traditional Thanksgiving dinner that you don't get at a buffet - and they don't really have to do with the meal itself. For one, there is the smell of a whole turkey roasting in the oven all morning and until the meal. For another, there are are the turkey and sides leftovers that make for a late night snack on Thanksgiving night and then for meals for days to come. I love turkey - real turkey. By real turkey I mean a whole roasted turkey and not a turkey breast or the turkey-like turkey breasts that some restaurants (and buffets) serve. And then there are the leftover sides and the combinations that they can be put to - along with the turkey of course.

It is not hard to prepare a Thanksgiving dinner just for two and while it takes time and effort the end result is very satisfying. Now, when you are just two, there are somethings that you don't get when you have Thanksgiving at home. One of the things that I like best about OCB on Thanksgiving - particularly one OCB - is being with all of the people dining all around with you. For anyone who is alone, this is something to very seriously consider. At a buffet, you are not dining alone. You are there with many other people - and at a buffet this is much different from a menu restaurant on a holiday. You are up at the buffet with everyone else - interacting and you definitely are not alone. It is not a time to be shy - smile and wish those around you Happy Thanksgiving - and they will do the same back. In a way, it is like being part of a very large family dinner. Many singles do not want to go through all of the effort to cook a complete Thanksgiving dinner for just him/herself, and often find a menu restaurant - especially on a holiday - as isolating as remaining at home. A buffet, however, makes for a completely different experience.

We did look at local ads for restaurants that were serving Thanksgiving dinner as a buffet. These are all either menu restaurants that set up a buffet just for holidays - and when a menu restaurant does this it is generally a disappointment or they are catering halls that cater an open to all Thanksgiving dinner - which one would think would be good as the caterer is in the business of doing large buffet meals but those too are often a disappointment. It takes a buffet restaurant to do a Thanksgiving or any holiday buffet right. As I say, here that is just OCB - and frankly, while we have enjoyed OCB in the past on Thanksgiving - what they are serving is not much different from their usual Sunday dinner menu. The Asian buffets were open but I am a traditionalist and while we have gone to an Asian buffet for Christmas dinner, Thanksgiving really needs a traditional menu (which I realize changes by the cultural background of one's family).

For those in other areas - and that is most of our readers - there are Thanksgiving dinners being served at most of the other buffet chains - and some of those have real whole turkeys being carved - and not just turkey breasts as at OCB. Golden Corral is one and at just $12.99. For those not far from or willing to travel to Lancaster County there is a buffet there that has a very popular Thanksgiving buffet dinner and that is Bird-In-Hand Family Restaurant and Smorgasbord. Their reservations for the several seatings sell out fast in October and early November. There used to be another in Lancaster County, PA that had a wonderful (as I have been told) buffet Thanksgiving Dinner and that was Family Cupboard which sadly this past year went out of business. The most of the other buffets in Lancaster are closed. All of those that I would normally recommend in this area other than Bird-In-Hand are closed.A buffet meal in your area is worth checking out for Thanksgiving!

As I write this, the scent of turkey roasting is wafting through the house. I am going to enjoy this meal, but I will miss the experience of a buffet on this holiday. I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving dinner and those who went to a buffet had a wonderful time! Happy Thanksgiving to all!

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