Beyond the Bird: Thanksgiving Trimmings

November 18, 2005

ALTHOUGH the turkey is the king of most families’ Thanksgiving tables, the meal wouldn’t be complete without all the fixings that complement the big bird: stuffing, cranberries, pumpkin pie and gravy, to name a few. When cooking up a Thanksgiving feast here, you won’t have to find substitutes for these favorites; a few local stores cater to North American customers and stock their shelves with the necessary trimmings of the season.AutoMercado supermarkets, known for carrying hard-to-find favorites from abroad, will offer specialty products for Thanksgiving, including boxes of stuffing mixes with brand names well known to North Americans, such as Kellogg’s and Stove Top, available in chicken and herb flavors, according to product manager Anabela Chi.Several options for potatoes are also available. For those who want to save time and go the from-the-box route, the store sells instant potato mixes by Idahoan, alongside canned sweet potatoes to make the brown sugary variety. Heinz, Knorr and McCormick packets of gravy mix are available to drizzle atop the turkey, and, for that ever-important bittersweet side dish, S&W canned cranberry jelly and whole Ocean Spray cranberries are on offer.Dessert mustn’t be forgotten, and it’s not hard to find the necessary ingredients for your favorite cakes and pies. Cherry filling and sweet potato and pumpkin mixes for pies can be found on AutoMercado shelves.The chain has eight locations in the San José area, in Los Yoses and Curridabat, east of San José; Rohrmoser, Escazú and Santa Ana, west of San José; Moravia and Heredia, north of San José; and a central store downtown.MUÑOZ y Nanne in San Pedro, east of San José, is another distributor of Thanksgiving essentials. At this specialty supermarket, you’ll find a good selection of ingredients for making desserts, including Libby canned pumpkin and a variety of nuts and dried fruits, such as almonds, pecans, raisins and prunes. Big bags of fresh baking potatoes and Stove Top stuffing mix provide the necessary starches. Muñoz y Nanne will also carry Ocean Spray cranberries in jelly and whole berry forms, as well as McCormick gravy mix.PriceSmart, known for having a wide variety of merchandise in its value club stores, has already placed several items for Thanksgiving on its shelves. Boxes of Stove Top stuffing mix and General Mills potato buds can be found alongside Ocean Spray jellied cranberry sauce.A warehouse membership store that sells in bulk, PriceSmart offers a few of these items in larger quantities great for large families or Thanksgiving parties. Potato buds, for example, come in a pack of two boxes, and cranberries come in packs of four cans. The store also sells Mariani raisins for making desserts, and fresh, natural pumpkins for those who prefer the real thing over the canned variety in their pies.PriceSmart has four locations in the Central Valley: in the southeastern district of Zapote; in the western suburb of Escazú; in Heredia, north of San José; and, open as of today, a new branch in Llorente de Tibás, north of San José.Más x Menos supermarkets, with 23 locations nationwide, carries some Thanksgiving items, such as instant mashed potatoes and gravy mix, year-round, and offers other specialty items around Thanksgiving. Now on shelves are Betty Crocker mashed potato mixes in sour-cream-and-chives, butter-and-herb and four cheese flavors, as well as Durkee gravy mix. Ocean Spray canned cranberries and several brands of stuffing mix are also in stores, according to Wilber Solorsano, manager of the downtown San José location.

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