Thanksgiving 2010: No Need to Do Dishes

"My cooking is so bad my kids thought Thanksgiving was to commemorate Pearl Harbor." ~ Phyllis Diller

Trace your hand on a brown paper bag, cut it out, glue construction paper feathers on the fingers, and hang it on your momma’s fridge because once again, Turkey Day is upon us. Despite the potential terror of distant relatives bearing mysterious Jell-o salads, most people like to celebrate Thanksgiving at home with their families. There’s comfort to be found in the sound of the Macy’s parade on the television, the scent of a slowly roasting domestic fowl heavy in the air, and the sight of your dear Auntie passed out face down in the cheese-n-crackers platter after her fifth dirty martini.

Still, there are also plenty of folks who find it difficult to even stick a Marie Callender’s frozen turkey dinner in the microwave and hit the start button. Or maybe they’d prefer not to have to bother with the sometimes chaotic pomp and circumstance of a traditional gathering. Fortunately, there are opportunities for North Idahoans to leave the strenuous kitchen work to others and still manage to create fond holiday memories.

Everyone loves a buffet, and Dockside Restaurant, located in the lobby level of the Coeur d’Alene Resort, is once again putting on its all-you-can-eat Thanksgiving Day spread with all the obligatory turkey, ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing and green beans one needs to bring on the necessary food coma.

Turkey haters are in luck as well, as they can just fill up on the endless delightful mini-pastries and orange rolls that always appear at any Coeur d’Alene Resort buffet situation. In fact, I’m pretty sure the Pilgrims shared chocolate-dipped cannolis with the Indians on that first Thanksgiving many years ago. Piling one’s buffet plate with exclusively sugary treats is merely a tribute to our esteemed early American ancestors.

The Coeur d’Alene Casino is also promising a lush all-day buffet that’s surely worth skipping Grandma’s party for. Plus, when you’re so stuffed you can’t even move, just have a floor attendant fetch you a power wheelchair, ride over to a slot machine and spend all the shopping money that you were saving for Black Friday. Tell you’re loved ones Santa’s not coming this year, they’ll understand.

Maybe you’re one of those people who’ve always been curious about what goes on inside a nudist resort on Thanksgiving but were slightly intimidated by the thought of finding a mystery hair in your marshmallow yams. You’re in luck this year as the Sun Meadow Family Nudist Resort is celebrating a “textile holiday” which, according to their website, was set up “so those who can't bare the thought of being bare have an opportunity to check the place out.” Dinner is $11 and starts at 6:30 p.m., call (208) 686-8686 to reserve a spot. Bring a side dish, but leave the hot crossed buns at home.

Up in the northernmost neck of our woods, the Blue Diamond Resort at Priest Lake is serving up either turkey with all the fixings or ham with all the fixings at 4:30 p.m. and then again at 6:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, at a cost of $20 for adults and $10 for children. It’s unknown if their staff will mock you and call you a gluttonous barbarian if you decide to pay and stay for both sessions, but I’d bring the extra money just in case. For reservations call (208) 443-2240.

The cooks at Noah’s Canteen at Silver Mountain in Kellogg will be doing lots of gravy spooning on Thanksgiving, however most of the rooms in the nearby Morning Star lodge have fully equipped kitchens as well. Make a full weekend holiday out of it and do as the resort so alliteratively suggests and “stuff, ski and snowboard, splash and surf and sleep” (your turkey, on the slopes, at the indoor water park, and in bed). It’s likely a bit more stimulating than putting together a post-meal “cute kitties” jigsaw puzzle with the in-laws. Call (866) 344.2675 for info about getaway packages.

Denny's, that bastion of classic American convenience and reliability, is open 24 hours on Thanksgiving. Turkey and stuffing will be an option, but how boring. If fate somehow leads you to a holiday meal at Denny’s, why not go for their new Bananas Foster French Toast Skillet with Caramel and an extra large side of bacon? The calorie count is likely similar to your usual three trips though the turkey line at the family gathering, and you won’t have to worry about passing out from a tryptophan overdose.

If the bad economy has you wanting to just skip over to January due to lack of funds, there are quite a few charities and churches providing free Thanksgiving Day meals to the community. One of the most popular is at the Lake City Senior Center (1916 Lakewood Dr., Cd’A, 12-2 p.m.), where various local celebrities can be seen dishing out platefuls of food to the droves of people (all ages) who come to partake. The Hayden Senior Center (9428 N. Government Way) starts serving at 1 p.m. and the American Legion in Athol (5525 E. Highway 54) party goes from 2-4 p.m. These places also could use volunteers to help set up, take down, serve, and clean, so hit Denny’s early and show up in time to help.

Finally, even the homeless will be able to do the turkey waddle on Thursday at Fresh Start (1524 Sherman Avenue, Cd’A.) Dinner time is yet to be determined, call (208) 667-9798 for more info.

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