smart spending

World's most expensive Thanksgiving dinner

Tryptophan-tastic Thanksgiving
Tryptophan-tastic Thanksgiving

There are a lot of noble emotions and well-intentioned stories associated with Thanksgiving. We tell each other how grateful we are for this and that and how the Pilgrims and Native Americans probably swapped recipes for the best cranberry sauce around a big table adorned with those cornucopias we all made cutouts of in third grade.

In the end, though, it's about celebrating what we have by eating and sleeping as much as we can in one 24-hour period. In some ways, it's enjoying as much excess that is realistic for one day. How else should we explain the giant, basted bird planted in the middle of our table?

For all of the work, dishes and ambrosia that go into a full Thanksgiving meal, the cost per person is often surprisingly cheap. The American Farm Bureau Federation places the average cost for a full meal this year, including staples like turkey, stuffing and sweet potatoes, at $49.04 for a table of 10. This figure would likely go up with inclusion of more organic ingredients.

Chef Hosea Rosenberg, winner of "Top Chef" season five and owner of Blackbelly Catering, suggests buying less and skipping leftovers to further save on costs, but says Thanksgiving is a chance to go all-out.

"I feel that you get what you pay for," he says. "If you want to treat everyone to a more delicious meal with healthier and more environmentally conscious ingredients, then you have to splurge a little."

So we wondered: What would Thanksgiving look like if you were to splurge a lot?

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