Thanksgiving was yesterday, which I celebrated with my parents and sister. My mom is getting to the point in her life where she doesn’t want to cook a huge meal, so we decided to go the Marie Callender’s Take-Home Feast route. We opted for the aptly-named Ultimate Whole Turkey Feast. Below is my assessment of dinner, with each element graded (in parenthesis) on a scale of 1 to 10.
- Ordering: (10) You order over the phone and pay with a credit card when you order. The fellow I talked to was competent and polite.
- Pickup: (10) They have a tent set up in the parking lot for you to claim your pre-paid bounty. Everything was exactly as ordered, and it came in a nice cardboard storage box that you can use for other things when you’re done. I remembered from when we had done this a couple of years ago that we ran out of stuffing, so I asked if I could purchase an extra side order of it. The guy gave me one for no charge. I tipped him the amount the extra side would have cost, and everybody was happy.
- Turkey: (7) One thing you need to be aware of if you’re considering the Marie Callender’s Feast is that even though the food comes prepared you still need to heat it up; 2 1/2 hours was the recommended heating time for the turkey. It was reasonably tasty, not dry but not particularly juicy either. We were four big eaters and there was plenty left over.
- Stuffing: (8) It was tasty, had a good selection of ingredients, and most importantly was not dry. It turns out the extra side of stuffing I asked for was not necessary, as the one included side was more than enough for the four of us.
- Mashed Potatoes: (5) I was not crazy about the mashed potatoes. They were not very creamy and didn’t have a lot of taste.
- Gravy: (5) It had a lot of flavor, but that flavor did not appeal to my palate. It was probably a personal-preference issue.
- Yams: (2) The big disappointment. The yams were cut in squares and baked. They reminded me of those cubed “breakfast potatoes” but with harder skins. Sorry, I like my yams mushy and sweet. The only thing that saved them from me rating them a 1 was that they came with a sprinkle-on topping of brown sugar and dried cranberries, which gave this lame side dish its only taste.
- Cornbread: (9) I love Marie Callender’s cornbread, which came deliciously complete with a side of honey butter.
- Vegetables: (2) The other big disappointment. The vegetables were a mix of carrots and string beans that were tough and tasteless. I would have liked a better mix of vegetables and more pronounced seasoning.
- Pumpkin Pie: (9) Marie Callender’s claim to fame is their pies. No disappointment here, other than the fact that I had to provide my own whipped cream.
- Coffee: (10) This was the big surprise of the evening for me. The coffee was GREAT, a blended medium roast that was smooth and full of flavor. It came in a silver foil package with no marking, so I have no idea how to get more since Marie Callender’s apparently doesn’t sell their coffee packaged.
That’s it. I’m off to buy a new belt!