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Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.

Culinary no-no #254

Culinary no-no's



Thirty million Americans will eat out or get carry-out this Thanksgiving according to the National Restaurant Association.

Here’s a sampling of what will be offered Thursday at the Arrowhead Restaurant & Bar, the country club-style dining and entertainment facility serving the award winning Arrowhead Golf Club in Wheaton, Illinois.

Thanksgiving Dinner at Arrowhead Restaurant & Bar

On the Arrowhead menu: Butternut squash soup and salad with peppered walnuts,  the main course of herb-roasted turkey, sage stuffing, whipped potatoes, smashed sweet potatoes, cranberry relish, green beans with wild mushrooms, pumpkin pie, chocolate mousse and holiday cookies at a cost of $29.95. Children 10 and under will cost $19.95.

I’m sure it’ll all be scrumptious. But eat out? On Thanksgiving? Why?

Blair Anthony Robertson of the Sacramento Bee writes:

If you've been clinging to the same old routine for Thanksgiving every year – going over to Grandma's, eating too much turkey, falling asleep by the second quarter of a lopsided football game – you've missed a great alternative way to do this cherished American holiday.

By the thousands, people are putting Thanksgiving in the hands of folks who get paid to cook and serve. They're forgoing the warm and fuzzy and often overwhelming process of cleaning and cooking, then cleaning some more, by going out to dinner.

They eat and drink, and often eat some more. The food may be great, but the best part? The check comes, they pay the bill and head for home, where there is nary a dish to clean nor a roasting pan to scrape and scour.”

Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the Research and Knowledge Group for the National Restaurant Association isn’t surprised:

“In today’s activity-rich, time-poor society, restaurants play an important role in bringing friends and family together to share a holiday meal for Thanksgiving. Our research clearly shows that the convenience of restaurant meals – not having to shop, cook and clean up – drives consumer behavior and will lead millions of Americans to patronize restaurants this Thanksgiving.”

I get that many people have to travel. And the whole no muss, no fuss, no cleaning up after. And if you’re alone on the holiday. But otherwise, I’m not seeing the appeal.

April Peveteaux at The Stir believes you should dine out on Thanksgiving, not out of necessity, but just to do it. She’s come up with 20 “awesome reasons” why. Here they are, followed by my commentary.

No dishes
Have you ever considered those fancy schmancy heavy-duty paper plates?

2) No cooking all day for a bunch of cranky ingrates
I guess I’m lucky. My Thanksgiving guests have never been cranky or ungrateful.

3) No one mucking up your clean floors
What are people supposed to do? Levitate? Let’s not be Felix Unger. It’s a holiday.

4) Or kitchen
The kitchen is supposed to get a working over on Thanksgiving.

5) Or bathroom (and if that's a regular problem, someone in your family needs a talking to)
Then why the hell invite anyone over?

6) No leftovers that you feel guilty about throwing out
I never feel guilty because I never toss out leftovers

7) No brining
There is absolutely no Turkey Day requirement to brine.

8) No relatives (hahaha -- kidding my lovely and amazing family!)
Granted you can choose your friends but not your family. But Thanksgiving is about family.

9) No football on in the background
What’s wrong with that? Would you prefer Mantovani records? Besides, I probably have money riding on whatever game is on.

10) No fighting over the limited number of drumsticks
Buy more.

11) Being waited on at all times
Enticing, I’ll grant you. Wanna be lazy? Let people help themselves.

12) No one will complain about your cooking
Develop a thicker skin.

13) And you won't have to complain about someone else's cooking
Unless your restaurant of choice doesn’t live up to standards.

14) No cranberry sauce from a can
Nothing stopping you from serving the real stuff. It’s delicious..

15) No turkey sandwiches for two weeks
Two weeks? Try a few days. And leftovers are great.

16) No trying to figure out what "giblets" actually are
Understood. But not enough to make a ressie.

17) Expensive liquor means fewer drunk rants from disgruntled family members
I’m guessing some folks just have oddball relatives. Then don’t invite them.

18) Attentive waiters means fewer outbursts from disgruntled family members
So the family won’t get disgruntled if they eat out but will if they eat at your place? Maybe you have some party planning and execution issues.

19) Anyone with dietary restrictions can order off the regular menu
As a host, you can also make these preparations in advance so as to please everyone.

20) Your Thanksgiving day will only last two hours -- at most!
What’s the rush?

Some great arguments against dining out were made by the Superdiners on the San Diego Union-Tribune website. The Superdiners are the newspaper’s panel of go-to chefs, farmers and foodies.

We’ve done the family outing to a restaurant. I honestly don’t ever want to do it again. The holiday loses too much— Dave Morgan, CPA, avid diner

This is just plain wrong. Thanksgiving is much more than a meal at a restaurant … — Nathan Rakov, sustainable rancher, Tzaddik Farm

The idea of someone else taking care of the cooking and details of Thanksgiving — that I could just show up with an appetite and maybe a bottle of wine — is initially scintillating. Alas, at the end of Turkey Day, I want to smell the flesh of beast roasting and caramelizing in the oven. I want to open delicious bottles of Tempranillo Rose and Beaujolais Nouveau and hang in the kitchen with family and friends talking story and stirring pots. I want to watch football and know that there is more food to be had in the kitchen. After my brother-in-law makes me his infamous “chip shot,” I want to slice into one of the spiced-pumpkin, apple-cranberry, chocolate-cream or pecan pies we will have and smother the slices with whipped cream. I want all these things, but to make it near perfect, I will need brewed West Bean Sumatra, please. — Tina Luu, pastry chef, food lecturer at the Art Institute of California San Diego

I adore making Thanksgiving dinner, so the only way I’d go out is if my oven croaked under the pressure. In which case, it wouldn’t be for turkey. It’d be for pizza and beer, which goes great with football viewing. — Susan Russo, cookbook author, blogger (

Call me a Momma’s boy, but I honestly can’t imagine being anywhere else but my Mom’s house in central California on Thanksgiving — I would put her stuffing up against the best chef’s creations.— David Salisbury, a law firm’s director of business development, avid diner

Finally, the National Restaurant Association refers to our “activity-rich, time-poor society.” That’s the biggest reason not to eat out on Thanksgiving Day. The Internet and e-mails, despite their magnificent benefits, have eroded personal and family one-on-one family relationships. The evening dinner table has taken a big hit.

Thanksgiving Day is the biggest eating, family get-together day of the entire year. I would urge all to try their best to ensure they not dine alone and not dine in a restaurant on Thursday unless absolutely necessary. If your family isn’t exactly Mayberry material, grin and bear it for a few hours on this one day. Someday, some of those family members won’t be around.

Go ahead. Even if you think it might not work, give it a shot.

You might be pleasantly surprised.


The National Restaurant Association in a sacrilegious move is suggesting ways to cut calories on Thanksgiving. The Association should show better. The majority of diners on Turkey Day say calories be damned! Here are their suggestions I vehemently disagree with:

• Ask your server to provide a take-home container when your meal is served. You can split your meal in half right away and save the other half to enjoy the next day.

• Start your meal with a salad with lots of vegetables and/or fruit, which are packed with nutrients and fiber.

• For the turkey-lovers, choose white meat with no skin (i.e. turkey breast) over dark meat as it's leaner.

• Sauces and gravy can be an important part of a meal, but they can also be calorie-rich. Ask your server for sauce/gravy on the side so you can add only as much as you need.

• Green bean casserole is delicious, but can pack quite a few calories. Ask to substitute sauteed, steamed or grilled green beans, or your other favorite vegetables.

• Look for bite-size or mini-desserts on the menu - or, share a regular-size dessert with your dining companions - to cap off the meal without adding too many calories.

I do agree with the following:

• Many restaurants are happy to customize your meal to fit dietary needs and preferences, so be sure to ask your server if you may substitute some items or change the preparation method to save on calories.

• Eat slowly and enjoy the experience. Be mindful of the flavor combinations and savor the food itself, not the abundance of it.

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