by Susan Ellis
According to Phyllis Cline, owner of the East Memphis kitchen wares store Forty Carrots, it's one of the city's worst kept secrets.
Forty Carrots has been offering frozen side dishes, pies, Parker House rolls, soups, made-to-order cakes, and more for 15 years year-round. The only difference now is that they're advertising the fact.
In a freezer near the front door are cornbread dressing, tipsy sweet potatoes (made with Jack Daniels), spinach madeline, corn pudding, etc., ... everything for a fine Thanksgiving meal, save for the turkey.
Cline says the to-go dishes are for those looking for homemade taste without all the prep work. Everything is made in-house, including the chicken stock, and even the shrimp is peeled by hand.
The holidays mean an extra push to get as much prepared as possible, and it also means that orders that were made ahead of time for Thanksgiving have Tuesday's and Wednesday's dishes pretty much spoken for. However, Cline says that customers can try their luck on Monday to see what's available. (What will most certainly not be available are the Parker rolls, a very popular item.)
As for Christmas, Cline explains that the season begins more or less on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and those interested in pre-ordering dishes should visit the store to discuss availability.
There's one last secret Cline is willing to reveal, as she points to casserole dishes and platters that are stacked on top of cabinets in the store's kitchen area.
You can bring in your own dishes for Forty Carrots' work to be served in, and, therefore, pass it off as your own. "Bring in your dish," says Cline, "and then fool everybody."
Sides run from around $8.95 serving 4 people to $35 to $40 for 10 to 12.
Forty Carrots, 5101 Sanderlin (683-5188)