CHICAGO —Thanksgiving is this week, meaning it’s time to indulge in turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and just about anything that screams “family and food.” But for those traveling, not eating at home or using their own recipes, convenience stores may provide an outlet for getting a festive meal or refreshment on the way to a homemade meal.
Here’s how some chains are helping customers celebrate Thanksgiving …
7-Eleven, Irving, Texas, has released a collection of innovative recipes for consumers to cook this Thanksgiving, including a Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Turkey, Kickin’ Mac & Cheese Balls, (Mostly) Bacon Brussel Sprouts and Cold-Pressed Cupcakes.
“These funky dishes were born through trial, error and lots of bacon,” the company said. “They’re the difference between whine with friends and wine with friends. Grab a glass and a spatula. It’s about to go down.”
For example, the Flamin’ Hot Turkey requires only three ingredients: a whole turkey, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and butter. The steps to cooking it include:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Crush the Cheetos in a bag.
- Brush the turkey with butter.
- Sprinkle the Cheetos atop the turkey.
- Cook until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
Cumberland Farms, Framingham, Mass., will offer consumers a free cup of its Farmhouse Blend or Bold coffee varieties from 12 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. Thanksgiving day. Consumers can customize their cup of joe with a Spice Cookie add-on at no additional cost. Customers opting for something besides coffee can snag a free hot tea or Peppermint Hot Chocolate.
Nittany MinitMart, a division of Nittany Oil Co., State College, Pa., will offer customers a free 20-ounce hot beverage on Thanksgiving. Options include hot chocolate, regular coffee, tea and cappuccino. Customers can order the beverages to go or dine in the store, which seats 30 people.
“With families traveling during this busy holiday season, we’re happy to provide a warm treat,” said Nicole Masullo, division manager of Nittany MinitMart.
Denver-based grocery, restaurant and convenience-store hybrid Choice Market will host a Pay-What-You-Can Thanksgiving Dinner on Nov. 28. The company will make an herb-roasted turkey, stuffing, organic string beans, cranberry sauce and house-made gravy for consumers to enjoy. Choice Market did not specify pricing, although 100% of the proceeds will be donated to hunger-relief nonprofits Big Green and Conscious Alliance. The feast will occur at two locations: The Choice Market on 18th & Broadway, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and the Choice Market on 10th & Osage, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Thanksgiving dinner costs
The average cost of this year’s Thanksgiving dinner for 10 is $48.91, or less than $5 per person, a 1-cent increase from last year’s average of $48.90, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 34th annual survey of the holiday feast. The centerpiece of most Thanksgiving tables, the turkey, costs slightly less than last year, at $20.80 for a 16-pound bird. That’s about $1.30 per pound, down 4% from last year. The survey shows that retail turkey prices are the lowest since 2010.
The shopping list for the survey includes turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a veggie tray, pumpkin pie with whipped cream and coffee and milk, enough to serve a family of 10 with leftovers. In addition to turkey, foods that showed slight price declines included cubed bread stuffing and canned pumpkin pie mix. Foods showing modest increases included dinner rolls, sweet potatoes and milk.
The survey revealed that 90% of Americans celebrate the holiday with a special meal, and turkey remains a staple for 95%. Despite the growing popularity of prepared foods, most Americans (92%) celebrate Thanksgiving at home or at a family member’s home, and most cook their entire meal at home.
More than 250 volunteer shoppers checked prices at grocery stores in 38 states for this year’s survey, looking for the best prices without taking advantage of special promotions, coupons or purchase deals.
The bureau first conducted the survey in 1986. The menu has remained unchanged to allow for consistent price comparisons. After adjusting for inflation, the cost of this year’s Thanksgiving dinner is $19.13, down slightly from last year.