A Ridiculously Expensive Thanksgiving
What budget? This menu plans out an outrageously priced Thanksgiving.
Click through to see just how expensive this meal can get!
While chef Erika Monroe-Williams, founder of The Hopeless Housewife, doesn’t like to waste money, she says, "There are a few things for Thanksgiving dinner that I think if you’re able to splurge on, you should." Her first splurge is the turkey. A frozen store-bought 18-pound turkey, which sells for $1 per pound will cost you $1.80 each per 10 guests, but it's possible to spend a lot more.
Credit: Flickr/Amanda Leigh Panda
Kick up your potatoes with black truffles, which sell for about $40 an ounce. Monroe-Williams calls the addition of black truffles to a potato recipe "wonderful and decadent." Monroe-Williams estimates that mashed potatoes with cauliflower and garlic for 10 would cost $1.08 per guest — add in half an ounce of black truffles and you’ll now spend $3.08 per person.
The Cranberry Sauce
Forget a $0.99 canned cranberry sauce and go for pricier and higher quality ingredients instead. Try adding a cup of a $99 port wine and a quarter cup of a $35-bottle of Grand Marnier to a $5 homemade cranberry sauce. While canned cranberry sauce for 10 guests costs $0.09, the homemade sauce with port wine and Grand Marnier will set you back $13.90 per serving.
The Brussels Sprouts
For your veggies, "I would make them all organic, and there are some great recipes out there for Brussels sprouts with balsamic glaze," says Monroe-Williams. "You could use aged balsamic and the price could really sky-rocket." Cook two 12-ounce bags of Brussels sprouts, which are $5 at www.peapod.com, and add Mussini Balsamic Vinegar of Modena "50 Years" Il Privilegio, which retails for $279 a bottle.
The Green Beans
Traditional green bean casserole costs $1.25 per person, but a few changes can up the price. "Fresh wild mushrooms for a green bean casserole are so nice," says Monroe-Williams who recommends using haricot verts (about 2 pounds at $8 a pound) and wild mushrooms (1 pound at $20 a pound) instead of string beans and canned mushrooms or mushroom soup.
Credit: Martin Poole
The Sweet Potatoes
If you’re serving sweet potatoes as a side, you’ll spend about $0.87 per guest. Add black walnuts, which Monroe-Williams likes because "they have a stronger flavor; they are smokier and richer tasting." Since those black walnuts cost about $16 a pound, you’ll spend $2.47 per person for 10 people.
"Thanksgiving is so traditional," says Emily Luchetti, executive pastry chef at Farallon and Waterbar Restaurants in San Francisco. "I always do some fun stuff for me." Luchetti’s suggestion? "Buy a really good pie." Sure, grocery stores sell a pie for $10 (about $1.67 per serving) but go for something pricier and yummier, too.
Credit: Flickr/Rachel from Cupcakes Take the Cake
More on Desserts
Another Thanksgiving extra? Real vanilla beans. "It’s totally expensive but worth the splurge," says Monroe-Williams. "It really takes it from drab to fab in seconds." While a box store’s vanilla extract costs $2.74 for a 1-ounce bottle, the real thing from Williams-Sonoma will taste so much better at a cost of $9.95 for four vanilla beans. Plan to use about one bean per recipe, such as crème brûlée for six people.
Want to impress your guests with a festive Thanksgiving cocktail? New York City mixologist John McCarthy recommends this tasty bourbon drink using A.H. Hirsch Reserve 16-year bourbon, one of the most expensive bourbons in the world ($300 a bottle), mixed with the rare Glenrothes Extraordinary Cask whiskey, which retails for $5,000 a bottle.
Chill your cocktails with gourmet ice. At $5 each, Gläce Luxury Ice Spheres, which measure 2.25 inches in diameter, are individually carved and free of minerals, additives, and pollutants. Their design means they don’t melt fast which keeps your drink cool, but minimally diluted.
Thanksgiving has always consisted of a standard menu — turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and gravy — with possibly a few additions and variations thrown into the mix. But with such a pre-determined meal every year, it's always fun to come up with some ways to add variety to the meal.
Last year, the American Farm Bureau Federation reported that the average Thanksgiving dinner for 10 people cost $49.20. That's quite the bargain at $5 dollars a person, but what if you wanted to go a little crazy and max out your credit card on the Thanksgiving meal? We decided to play a little game called "What if we were zillionaires?" and mixed things up to figure out a way to spend more, not less, on Thanksgiving dinner.
From adding a $900 bottle of wine to the gravy to folding in some $150 foie gras into the stuffing, this Thanksgiving menu is outrageously expensive, making it a holiday meal unlike any other. Although we don't expect anyone to actually whip up this meal fit for a king, we hope our pricey suggestions inspire you to add some variety to your Thanksgiving meal, and maybe a little something decadent just for fun.
Check out the slideshow above to see some ridiculously expensive Thanksgiving menu options!