Well, if today's experience did nothing more than make my family appreciate me (Queen Mama), then it was worth it.
With the aches and pains I'm having from this damnable arthritis plus my bad knee, I just find it way too hard to be standing on my feet for hours at a time preparing a huge meal for my family with no help. For years now I have been whining and complaining about this but it fell on deaf ears. I kept asking for help in making the food and also the clean-up but help was minimal. Finally, this year I decided that enough was enough. I announced to my family that I was not cooking dinner. That I didn't care what we ate or where we ate it....but it was not going to be prepared by these little hands. My daughter said that she would take over. The torch was passed............sorta.
She decided.....since she really does not like to cook.....to buy the dinner already prepared. At our local grocery you can get such a meal. For $69.99, you get dinner and dessert....enough for 8 people, already prepared. All you do is warm it up. She ordered this meal and picked it up the night before Thanksgiving. All looked in order. Thanksgiving day she put the turkey in the oven and when it was ready (after 2 hours) she then warmed up the rest of the stuff.
Now the picture above is of a TV dinner and I'm going to tell you that I think this particular TV dinner probably has more taste than what we ate. This already prepared meal was very bland. The turkey almost had no flavor. Its beyond me how you can mess up a turkey. The mashed potatoes tasted like a mixture of instant and real....we will probably never know for sure what it was. The dressing, however, was good but the gravy was horrible. It was the color of vanilla pudding and had no taste at all. I didn't even try the broccoli or carrots. The fruit salad was good. The pumpkin pie was awful.
My family is spoiled because I am a good cook. I cook with love and I take extra measures to make sure the food I prepare has a wonderful taste. Nothing bland comes from my kitchen.
I think my family learned a lesson. Everyone agreed that nothing could compare to what they are used to. My daughter announced that at Christmas she was going to learn how to prepare a meal like I've always fixed and asked if I would show her how. (haven't I been trying to do this for 15 or more years now?)
So, my verdict on already prepared meals.....at least from this establishment....is a score of 2 out of 5. If you can make a meal out of dressing and fruit salad. True, it was cheaper to put it on the table than it would have been if we had bought the groceries and prepared it.....but we have nearly no leftovers and the food was not that good. For the first time....I didn't even CARE if I had leftovers to bring home.
So sometimes you just have to show your family (tough love) what its gonna be like without a home-cooked feast in order for them to actually do something about it. I think I'm going to go to the store and get the stuff to make some pumpkin bars and/or a pumpkin pie. I really missed that. I'm already looking forward to Christmas dinner.