Don’t forget to garnish the turkey with an assortment of herbs and other edibles to create a show-stopping main course.
n America, Thanksgiving is arguably the most important feast of the year. And my family has had its share of festivity faux pas. One memorable time, my Dad prepared the bird and put it in the oven then walked away to focus on the important task of readying the house for his 24 guests. The tables were set and decorated in high style, the hearth fire was lit and stoked, sides were stirred and sampled. But when it was time to check the turkey, he found a raw bird. It had not been roasting the whole time because he had forgotten to turn on the oven! And of course there wasn’t enough time to get it done by dinner. A little scrambling and frantic dialing ensued. But all was not lost. He found a prepared turkey from a local gourmet shop and the feast went on without another hitch. Another year, he forgot to take the bag of giblets out of the turkey before roasting it. And you know what? Despite some initial hand wringing and epicurean embarrassment, the finished bird turned out just fine. The moral of these stories is that while Thanksgiving is a much-anticipated event loaded with pressure to get everything just so, it doesn’t have to be perfect for you and your guests to have a wonderful time. Remember: It’s a day about gratitude and coming together. Consider all of the things in life you are grateful for and the frustrating mishaps will either fade into oblivion or provide you and your family with something to laugh about for years to come. Following are some planning tips I have learned over the years to help you navigate the big banquet and hopefully avoid a few pitfalls the day of: Guests: Settling on the number of people you expect around the table is key. This number might be dictated by the space you have or by your familial obligations. Whatever the case, this number impacts everything from seating (do you need extra tables?), to the size of turkey, to the number of dishes you have or need to get. If your family or friends have a reputation for last-minute surprises, save yourself the headache by forming a contingency plan now. It’s always better to have leftovers than a paltry spread. Menu: Pull out your cookbooks and old family recipes at the beginning of November, to give yourself plenty of time to enjoy the planning process. Few things will squelch your excitement like rushing through this step at the eleventh hour. Likewise, grocery shopping the day before Thanksgiving
No holiday is complete without some whimsical collectible pieces. Meet Vernon the Vadalia Onion Doll, Mr. Caleb Carrot, Mr. Talbot Turkey and Rory the Rooster. They’ll keep you company until your guests arrive!
is like hitting the mall the day after: It’s frantic and congested. And with perishable items in particular, you’re likely to come up short on one or more key ingredients.