Despite her natural disdain of pumpkin, nuts, cinnamon, nutmeg and other flavors of the season—or anything in a neutral color, really—Lunch Lady's favorite holiday is Thanksgiving. That's due in part to the fact that Lunch Lady's birthday is always near Thanksgiving, this year on the actual day, and Lunch Lady loves a birthday, particularly her own.
The tricky part, of course, is balancing celebration of this national holiday with celebration of … well, me. The way the Lunch Lady family has always dealt with this proximity of dates is to have a separate celebratory dinner (free of turkey, pies and mashed potatoes) for the birthday, and a second, possibly lesser dinner for Thanksgiving proper.
Because you are unlikely to celebrate Lunch Lady's birthday, you should make the best of your Thanksgiving dinner, which might mean bringing in some outside help.
This might sound like sacrilege to some of you, but sometimes, for whatever reason, it's just not worth it to spend your whole day roasting a turkey, mashing potatoes, straining gravy, whipping up casseroles and baking pies. Maybe you don't have enough people at home to warrant all that labor, maybe you have to work that day, or maybe you're just plain lazy. (Lunch Lady doesn't judge).
Broad Street (I-55 North and Northside Dr., 601-362-2900) is providing a full catering menu for Thanksgiving this year. If you call in, drop off or fax your order form by Sunday, Nov. 18, you can pick up your goods on Wednesday, Nov. 21, the day before the holiday. Main-course choices are oven-roasted honey-glazed Smithfield ham, pork loin and fried turkey breast. Dress up your meal by adding breads (brioche or struan), soups (tomato basil or gumbo), salad (green, Caesar, spinach and goat cheese, or cous cous) and side dishes (garlic mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, spinach casserole, andouille dressing, sweet corn maque choux, new potatoes and macaroni and cheese).
Of course, Broad Street wouldn't be Broad Street without dessert. Indulge your sweet tooth with a caramel, carrot or German chocolate cake, or perhaps a pear almond tart. They're even lightening your workload with breakfast and brunch options. Visit bravobuzz.com or broadstbakery.com to download an order form and get your holiday meal lined up.
Julep (4500 I-55 North, 601-201-9611 for catering) also has a holiday catering menu, which is good for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. Entrée choices are deep-fried turkey, free-range chicken, pork tenderloin, beef tenderloin, stuffed chicken breasts, crawfish etouffée, and shrimp and grits. They're serving up Lunch Lady's favorite, Julep yeast rolls (and other breads), four kinds of soup, and their signature strawberry pecan and house salads. The dips and spreads list is to die for—warm artichoke and parmesan dip, anyone?
Desserts range from Kentucky Derby Pie and brownie almond torte, to bananas foster bread pudding and almond wedding cake, so choose wisely. Julep's doing breakfast treats, too. Check out the full menu at juleprestaurant.com/menu.html. You can schedule to pick up your meal on Nov. 21. Do them (and yourself) a favor, and get your order in early.
If you are cooking the meal but need help with desserts, think about spiced pumpkin cheesecake or "Lord have mercy" sweet potato pie from Crazy Cat Bakers (4500 I-55 N., 601-362-7448).
Of course, maybe this is the year you put your foot down and refuse to entertain relatives who refuse to wipe their feet or help with dishes. There are some options for you, too.
The Hilton Jackson (1001 E. County Line Rd., 601-957-2800, ext. 7033) is having a Thanksgiving Day buffet from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom. It's $28 per person, $12 for children ages 4-10 and free for children under 3—and they are not taking reservations. Fill your plate with glazed ham, leg of lamb, roasted French turkey breast, cornbread dressing, fried shrimp, sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes and gravy, green bean amandine and more.
The Edison Walthall (225 E. Capitol St., 601-948-6161) is offering standard Thanksgiving fare from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The restaurant had not yet set the menu at this writing, but give them a call to make a reservation at this venerable Jackson institution.
Other establishments catering for Thanksgiving include: Schimmel's (2615 N. State St., 601-981-7077), Foodies (5050 I-55 N., 601-978-7999), Bon Ami (1220 E. Northside Dr. #230, 601-982-0405), Primos (2323 Lakeland Dr., Flowood, 601-936-3398), McDade's Market (Multiple locations, 601-366-5273) and Chimneyville Smokehouse (970 High St., 601-354-4665).
Keep us posted of all your holiday eating adventures at [e-mail missing]
Is your restaurant offering Thanksgiving catering or dining? Add it under this story on jacksonfreepress.com.
Lunch Lady would like to apologize to those who took issue with her reference to "Grade D" meat in her last column. It was not intended as fact, but as a humorous anecdote to explain her general reluctance toward ground meat. The idea was to encourage discerning food choices, not to discourage meat consumption. For more on this and other urban legends, visit Snopes.