I Cooked Thanksgiving Dinner From a Box. Here's How It Went Over With My Friends.

Everything showed up at my door (yes, even the turkey!).

thanksgiving in a box
John Lonsdale

Sometimes it seems Thanksgiving should be renamed Thankstaking for all the time it takes to put the whole thing together. Don't get me wrong: I love cooking (and eating) with friends and family, but the stress associated with holiday hosting is real. So when offered to let me test out the new Thanksgiving Box, I decided to do Friendsgiving a month early—and skip the mess of menu planning and grocery shopping.

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HelloFresh
Thanksgiving Box
hellofresh.com

The delivery service offers two meal options, both with enough pre-portioned ingredients to feed eight to 10 guests: a sides and dessert box for $99 (or $8.90/serving) or the Thanksgiving box for $159 (or $14.90/serving). You can pre-order through November 8 for delivery November 12-18.

What You Get

My order arrived in two large, well-insulated boxes (yes, even the turkey!) with a detailed recipe packet that told me exactly when to start each step, plus easy-to-fold name cards (a sweet surprise), and—of course—ingredients for the following:

    Everything Else You'll Need

    Most meal kits don't include basics like cooking oil and salt and pepper—it's safe to assume most people already have those on hand. However, I was surprised butter was not included in the box, considering the recipes required so much of it (a full pound). Thankfully, this good Midwestern girl keeps plenty in stock, but if you don't usually buy butter, you'll need to make a run to the store. Here's a list of the required ingredients that don't come in the box:

    • 1.5 cups sugar
    • 1 pound butter
    • Cooking oil
    • Non-stick cooking spray
    • (not actually on their list, but on mine)

      The Pros

      image
      Clearly, I'm in desperate need of a serving platter before actual Thanksgiving. I think I'll go with .
      John Lonsdale

      The recipes. Everything was easy to follow, and the resulting dishes all got rave reviews from my friends, who were happy to serve as taste-testers, no matter how odd it was to be eating Thanksgiving dinner on a hot October day.

      The convenience. Those living in food deserts (or in my case, those without cars) will be extra thankful for food that arrives at the door—no special trip to a nearby town (or long walk weighted down with grocery bags) necessary.

      The time. Since everything was pre-portioned, I was able to enjoy the process (and sneak away for time with guests) a little more than I normally would.

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      The quality. The produce and herbs were all beautiful, and the turkey was Honeysuckle White—a brand that works with independent family famers and doesn't use growth-promoting antibiotics.

      image
      I got this cast iron skillet , and it’s my favorite thing in my kitchen.
      John Lonsdale

      The Cons

      The price (for some). Last year, the estimated the average Thanksgiving dinner costs just $49.12. However, that number is based on a seriously basic table that probably looks (and tastes) nothing like the spread we scarfed down. To me, the price seemed pretty reasonable, especially for the convenience, though that may depend on where you live.

      The structure. The timeline helped me stay on schedule and have everything ready right on time, but as a creative person, I have to say that I missed selecting the dishes (new recipes and old family favorites) myself. Though time-consuming, it's all part of the fun for me.

      No pie(!). Sadly, this Thanksgiving box did not come with any ingredients for pumpkin or apple pie. Instead, it included apple crisp. The crumbly dessert was delicious, but to me, pie on Thanksgiving is non-negotiable.

      The Verdict

      Overall, cooking Thanksgiving dinner from a box was a great experience, and one I'd gladly repeat (though I'll be adding a pie to the final spread). How's that for a new Thanksgiving tradition?

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