Keeping Thanksgiving Simple

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Family, friends, gathering, gratitude, food and fun – some of my most favorite things! Thanksgiving brings all these elements together, without the commercial background noise – which is why it’s a favorite holiday.  Keep the focus on these Thanksgiving attributes by ensuring that all the details have been addressed. Here’s how you can make it happen:

Plan Ahead

Select the color scheme for tablescaping and decorations in advance.

Choose recipes and foods that work well together and which will combine to create the perfect menu. Determine in advance if you’ll have a have a dessert bar, coffee bar, etc.

Create a shopping list by store, especially helpful if you have to do a bit of running around. You can even organize each store by shopping aisle to really cut down on shop time. 

Determine seating arrangements and the serving style – buffet, family style or individually plated ahead of time.

Plan for activities and entertainment. This includes activities for kids (craft or coloring station), football games/parade watching, organize the music playlist (holiday, classical, jazz, etc.), and set aside time for reflection and sharing gratitude.

DELEGATE. DELEGATE! Avoid stress by assigning tasks to someone you trust to get the job done right.

Thanksgiving Week

Create a daily, to-do list for the week of Thanksgiving. For example:

Saturday – Food shop, iron linens, wash plates, flatware, purchase candles and other necessary items for kitchen, dining table or bar.

Sunday – Farmers market haul for fresh veggies.

Monday – Pick up fresh turkey and make compound butter for turkey, bread or veggies.

Tuesday – Buy flowers. Brine, dry rub, or marinade the turkey. Start making desserts.

Wednesday – Peel, chop and slice veggies. Cut bread cubes for stuffing, prepare some of your sides (soup, sweet potatoes, casserole, stuffing), set the table and clean the house.

Thursday – Cook the turkey and wrap up last minute details. ENJOY!

Extra Tips

It’s perfectly okay to serve red wine with white meat.

In lieu of elaborate tablescaping, create a centerpiece – pine boughs, autumn flowers, squash and vegetables, walnuts, chestnuts, mini pumpkins and plenty of greenery. Candles are a must – lots of them!

If you’re hosting a large group, encourage guests to bring a side or even one of the mains. Although it’s great being the hostess with the mostest, you don’t want to miss out on enjoying the day and sharing with family and friends because you’re overwhelmed with cooking.

Thanksgiving menu conundrum?  Feel free to email us at chefpatty@themadtable.com. We’re happy to provide advice and instruction. 

For more tips and tricks on serving gorgeous, delicious dishes and hosting meaningful soirées, visit us at The Mad Table website.  And be sure to like The Mad Table on Facebook and follow us on Instagram for all the latest news, fabulous recipes and beautiful entertaining tips and ideas.