I'm an advocate for non-traditional Thanksgiving. Thai Thanksgiving comes to mind. But that gets vetoed by my better half and my equally-traditional sister-in-law. Whatever way you go, you can get the good stuff close to home.
- Start traditional. Maple Lawn Farms grows turkeys on Rte 216 in Fulton. They sell from the farm, and Mom's Organic Market in Jessup sells them along with two other varieties. I haven't eaten one yet, but I hear they're very good.
- Spice up your table. Zip up the stuffing with sausage from Boarman's in Highland or Laurel Meat Market. Grab some vegetables at Gorman Produce Farm in Laurel (as long as you go Thurs-Sunday). Maybe try a shrimp plate or oysters from Frank's Seafood in Jessup.
- Prepare for baking. Ann's House of Nuts in Columbia sells all kinds of items to bake into sweets. They also sell in-shell nuts if you want a bowl on nuts on your fireplace.
- Pick up dessert. French pastries and fruit tarts at Bonaparte Bread in Savage. Cupcakes, cookies and tarts at Touche Touchet in Columbia.
- Grab a few specialties to amuse your guests. Pistachio nougat at Caezar's International Market in Elkridge. Orange blossom water for a special lemonade. Old Bay chocolate crabs at Sweet Cascades in Ellicott City. Or bacon chocolate at im Wine where they'll help you pick out the grape, then sell you bacon candy bars.
- Plan to get out of the house. For the kids, a new indoor miniature golf course has opened in Jessup. For a break in the leftovers, grab tacos. It's a light lunch and a beef or pork alternative to turkey sandwiches -- at R&R Taqueria in Elkridge or Lily's Mexican Market in Columbia.
- Snap up a quick lunch on Black Friday. At the mall, I'd get Yogiberry or maybe cross the road for Chinese at Red Pearl or sushi at Sushi Sono. From the Target, consider a post-shopping lunch at Royal Taj.
And if your family is open-minded, consider just spicing up your entire meat. That Thai Thanksgiving would come from the H Mart. Or you could go Mexican. Lily's Mexican Market sells spices to rub on the turkey. Mexican chorizo for the sausage. Maybe cactus for a side dish? I can't serve that here, but there's always hope for you!