Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday celebrated in Canada, the United States, some of the Caribbean islands and Liberia. It began as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest. Many countries have harvest festivals including Argentina, Italy, Israel and Greece. Traditionally, Thanksgiving is a day where friends and families come together to celebrate with a special meal but over the years the menu has evolved to include many unusual and tasty additions.
Mix up the menu. Most people serve an entire buffet of hot dishes. Think about using a mix of both hot and cold food which keeps the menu interesting and allows you more time to mingle with guests.
- Make sure you have all the cooking and baking tools needed for Thanksgiving entertaining.
- Plan your meal, work ahead (and be sure to defrost the turkey).
- If you have guests who have not previously met, use place cards with their name on one side and their passion or hobby on the back for a great conversation starter.
- Small children often get bored. A great way to get them involved is to use butcher paper instead of a tablecloth at the children’s table— they can draw their own gratitude pictures.
- Add a cinnamon stick or sprig of rosemary to the napkin for
a nice touch.
Since the holiday is centered on delicious food— you’ll want your best Thanksgiving décor for a festive table. There are so many places ideas – check Pinterest or the home magazines. Some favorite ideas are:
Wine Bottle Candle Holders
Everyone has old wine bottles. They make great candleholders for the table. Fill them with miniature lights or grains and nuts to add the perfect ambiance to the table.
Buffets can be dressed up with a bright tablecloth and a mix of antique dishes, while sit-down dinner tables can be personalized with handwritten menus and individual serving pieces.
Thankful tree This is one that is special-take a walk in the park or around your house and gather small branches. Arrange them in a glass vase with walnuts and pine cones in the bottom. Children can cut out paper leaves for family and friends to write notes on about what they are thankful for. Tie each note onto a branch with a decorative bow.
The right dinner:
- Use chunks of onions, carrots, celery and garlic on the bottom of your roasting pan before placing the turkey on top to add flavor to your drippings and your gravy.
- Many cooks slow roast the bird but high-heat cooking and deep frying are also options. The classic method is 20 minutes per pound at 325 degrees. If you are in a hurry, split your turkey so that it lies flat and you can cook it for eight minutes per pound at 450.
- Carve the turkey with a sharp knife. Take the legs and wings off first (cutting through the joint) for better access to maneuver to get to the breast.
- Make more than you think you will need and make sides ahead of time. Make things ahead and freeze them; many recipes are good frozen and then reheated.
- Stuffing is often centerpiece of the meal. Bread-based casseroles are both simple to prepare and versatile enough that you can use a variety of ingredients you may have on hand. For a simple stuffing shortcut, use store bought holiday cornbread stuffing— and add fresh vegetables, herbs and walnuts or pecans for a delicious dish.
- Let’s celebrate this Thanksgiving with special prayers for those who are unable to join us at the table, those whose homes have been devastated by the recent hurricanes and fires, the victims of the horrific attack in Las Vegas and all those who work that day to make our holiday safe.