08
Nov
07

thanksgiving 2007

I love the preparation part of entertaining but am a complete failure when it comes to actually ‘entertaining’. I spend so much time prepping the right food and setting the perfect table that I forget to actually get ready to receive guests (I think there’s a metaphor to weddings here – concentrating too much on prepping for the wedding day and not enough prepping for the marriage? Maybe? Maybe not. Anyway.) I hope to take this Thanksgiving as an opportunity to work on fixing that flaw. I’m still hosting, but I’m handing about half of the cooking responsibilities over to other family members. I will take care of the turkey, stuffing, potatoes, and desserts, while my mom, my husband’s aunt, and my grandmother-in-law take care of the rest. We’re also having only 10 people this year as opposed to the 13 from last year, and we’re going to wait till after Thanksgiving to put up our Christmas tree (to keep the place from being too crowded). My husband has also been commissioned to make a new leaf for our dining room table so that we can fit everyone comfortably around it (we could squeeze ’em all in with the one existing leaf, but it’d be nice to not knock elbows for once).

Here’s the menu so far:

Brined Turkey with some sort of sausage stuffing
Green Bean Casserole
Carrot Souffle
Waldorf Salad (aka Ambrosia)
Parmesan Mashed Potatoes
Deviled Eggs
Cranberry Sauce
Dinner Rolls
Pumpkin Pie with Bourbon Infused Whipped Cream
Pecan Praline Tart
Cranberry Almond Cinnamon Tart
Abra’s Bittersweet Chocolate Mousse

If you’ll notice, our family is big on “Simple, classic dinner & LOTS of desserts”. This is fantastic for me because desserts have always been my favorite and this gives me a great excuse to make some fun ones (yes, the first three are all Martha recipes).

Does anyone have any tips for keeping the evening relaxed and joyous rather than hurried and stressful?

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4 Responses to “thanksgiving 2007”


  1. November 8, 2007 at 2:19 pm

    The first couple years I was married, we hosted Thanksgiving. It *is* a lot of work, and I did find that divvying up the duties helped a lot. Also, choosing dishes that could be made ahead of time and making a timed schedule of how long everything takes and which appliances were used so you can figure out which ones need to be made when. I’m also a big fan of dipping into the wine as I cook. 🙂 I don’t know how many women struggle with this, but I always had to fight my desire to run off and do dishes immediately after feasting — it took a great deal of self control and Ben gently reminding me to relax, but the day really is more fun if you put off some chores until later.

  2. 2 swingerofbirches
    November 8, 2007 at 2:48 pm

    Hurrah! What fun to have Thanksgiving just around the corner. I’ve never hosted one myself (4.5 years of marriage!)–that mantle is still being proudly worn by the older generations, which is a joy and blessing as well. 🙂 So I can’t lend any brilliant turkey-brining tips, although I was just discussing with John the other night how when my time comes I’m brining that creature–yum! I can only share what has been helpful to me when we have a lot of company over, and much of it is what Abra said above–prepping or even fully preparing some of the dishes the day or so ahead is really a nice way to go. Also, hear hear to the break out the wine while you’re in the kitchen. (And maybe crank up some fun music while you’re at it!) One thing that has been useful to me in preparing for company is to jot out the household items I’d like to see happen before the event and divide these items up over the course of a few days. That way the day before and day of the event I can concentrate on cooking, baking, and the fun last minute stuff, since I’ve already gotten the house in order. I like to take it as far as I can, even to the point of setting the table the day before. Anyhow, there you have my offical two cents. Blessings!

  3. November 8, 2007 at 8:22 pm

    I echo both ladies’ sentiments on prepping in advance. Having hosted Thanksgiving dinner, I know that it can be a lot of work. This is one time that I really make lists. Every recipe I’m making for the big day, I read through several days before and check on ingredients making my grocery list for what’s actually needed. I usually stock up on extras like butter & cream, since those seem to be used a lot during the holiday feasting time!

    Any dish I can make a day or more ahead, I do. Even if it’s just prepped and will be baked on Thanksgiving day it saves a lot of time & clean-up to not assemble everything the day of. I usually bake my turkey starting the night before on low, so I don’t have to be up at the crack of dawn to get it in the oven and done on time. As it gets closer to dinner time I check on the doneness & up the temperature as needed. Also, I cook the stuffing separately so I don’t have to take the time to dig stuffing out of a boiling hot turkey carcass minutes before serving.

    As Naomi said, I like to make sure all of my dinner setting is done, or set aside the night before. I often use my table for cooking preparation, so it’s not always possible to set it a day before, but as long as I know I have set aside a setting for each guest, I don’t have to worry about washing or finding last minute items before guests arrive. And check your napkins!

    Another tip I read somewhere, probably Real Simple or Martha, and that saves me time is making up a list of the serving bowls or platters I need so I don’t inadvertently use them for something else and am stuck with the wrong size at the end.

    If at all possible, the half-hour before guests arrive, I unwinding from my scramble of getting things together, drink a glass of wine, light the candles, and get ready to enjoy my family & friends. No-one enjoys a stressed host or hostess.

    Delegate. Have your husband oversee guest arrivals & coat-taking. Sometimes I have my parents come a few minutes early so they can entertain our daughter for the last few minutes while I need no-one underfoot. 🙂

    My .50 cents.

    Moriah
    http://www.upsaid.com/rosearamma


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