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Written in Granite: We do what it takes for this holiday

Taking shortcuts is allowed

Busy Jeannotte’s Market is “Nashua’s Oldest Grocery Store.” (Photo by Joan T. Stylianos)
Busy Jeannotte’s Market is “Nashua’s Oldest Grocery Store.” (Photo by Joan T. Stylianos)
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NASHUA, N.H. — Ina Garten recently told The New York Times that “store-bought is fine” when it comes to folks hosting Thanksgiving in their homes.

The award-winning celebrity chef and TV-famous “Barefoot Contessa” wants us all to relax this holiday meal and says it’s alright to take shortcuts in the kitchen. That means picking up store-bought mashed potatoes, pre-made stuffing mix or a frozen pie crust, and you get the idea.

I shouldn’t complain as I have a small party heading to my home on T-Day, but many of you could be hosting 10 or more people, and that’s never easy. Still, I will mix and match the homemade with the semi-homemade and the store-bought for my menu, wink-wink.

Many people are tightening their belts because of inflation, but the supply chain has also been problematic for all, and the recent bird flu outbreak has driven turkey prices higher.

Here in the Nashua area, things don’t look too bad unless the supermarkets run out of stuff. Market Basket is limiting turkey purchases to “2, please.” A frozen bird will cost you 89 cents per pound while a fresh turkey is going for $1.39 per pound, and these prices are significantly cheaper than the national average ($1.99 lb., frozen whole and $6.50 lb., fresh breast meat).

There’s an old saying, “The early bird catches the worm.” In this case, shop or order yesterday, and here’s a good example of why.

Jeannotte’s Market is famous in the Gate City. Fans love the deli, the hometown atmosphere and friendliness and the location, nestled in the city’s north-end neighborhood, not far from historic Holman Stadium.

Jeannotte’s boasts that it is “Nashua’s Oldest Grocery Store,” which says something about the establishment’s longevity (since 1899) and popularity here in the city. The market is currently owned by Glynn Bingham whose family is well-respected in the community.

The store is sold out of about 150 fresh turkeys it was selling at $4.49 per pound. The market buys all-natural turkeys raised on small farms in the mid-Atlantic and shipped to them fresh. A kind woman at Jeannotte’s chuckled that there weren’t any left and that folks begin placing their orders in October.

I will punt and purchase several pounds of turkey breast already cooked from the Honey Baked Ham store. It’s yummy, and I’ve done that before. Then, I’ll make the side dishes, including spanakopita, or Greek spinach pie. “My people” are always adding more and more Greek stuff to the T-Day buffet menu.

My only issue is coffee. I don’t drink it and don’t enjoy the aroma of it, but everyone loves their cup of joe. The only coffee machine I own is a vintage Corning Pyrex stovetop percolator. Please refrain from laughing. Coffee enthusiasts swear that the brew smells heavenly and tastes the best.

Well, last Thanksgiving, I messed up. The glass percolator was giving off that familiar coffee aroma, but the coffee grounds weren’t “dropping” or being saturated into the water. My guests were clueless at the dining table, laughing and immersed in conversation.

Embarrassed, I quickly made up a batch of instant coffee, heated it up in the microwave and served it to them.

They all chimed in about how incredible that vintage coffeemaker was in delivering a rich, robust cup of joe!

Shh, it’s my secret.

And there you have it. If you’re hosting this T-Day holiday, things can go wrong, but don’t freak out. Take the shortcut. Happy Thanksgiving.

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