At this time in November, 34-year-old Serrah Russell would normally be fielding a tonne of text messages as her family plotted out kitchen logistics and contributions for the Thanksgiving feast.
But Covid concerns have cancelled the big gathering for her. So this year the artist is skipping cooking altogether, opting instead for a takeaway Thanksgiving meal.
She, her husband, two friends and toddler will be dining on a 10-dish spread prepared by Canlis, a high-end Seattle restaurant with an award-winning chef, who is offering a video tutorial to coach customers through the final steps of turkey roasting.
“It feels like it’s been such a year,” says Serrah, who has relied on Canlis takeaway to mark other special occasions this year. “It’s sort of nice to take away that stress and just be present with people and enjoy that aspect of it.”
As officials warn against travel and in some places bar gatherings of more than 10 people due to the pandemic, the limits have raised questions about the impact on Thanksgiving, normally one of the biggest holidays in the US and a generator of billions of dollars in travel and food sales.
Among poultry producers, the likelihood that smaller gatherings this year could loosen loyalty to the traditional turkey dinner has raised fears of a surplus of the fowl, especially of larger birds.
But some restaurants, which have been hammered by social distancing restrictions and a drop in dining out, the situation has produced a possible silver lining, as smaller numbers make it more feasible for families to splurge on a professionally prepared meal – even if it ends up being eaten at home.