It is getting down to the wire folks, game time decisions need to be made on what exactly will be on the menu. I know it’s hard – so many delicious choices are calling to you while each family member is requesting a different version of stuffing. If you are in need of a little inspiration, here are some of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes (the Leek Bread Pudding being my absolute favorite side and a dish I only allow myself to make on very special occasions).
For the non-cooks or guests out there, I have compiled a short list of do’s and don’ts on the art of helpfulness so you can be a Turkeyday rockstar – no culinary expertise required. Trust me, you will get serious kudos from the host/cook – think leftovers people (I didn’t say anything about having ulterior motives!).
Thanksgiving Recipes: Sides & Such –
Thanksgiving Recipes: Dessert (aka the main event) –
TIPS FOR NON-COOKS:
How to Actually Help this Thanksgiving
I have spent 20+ years as my hostess-with-the-mostess Mom’s kitchen helper for countless dinner parties and holiday gatherings – so you can imagine the number of times I have heard the question “how can I help?” – lets just say enough times to offer some insight into how to not be a nuisance and not make your host want to punch you in the face…ahem not that I have ever felt like doing that after cooking for 10 hours straight and not eating because, you know it’s Thanksgiving. I admit that it is not always easy or intuitive to figure out how to help, especially in someone else’s house, so I thought I would share some of what I have learned over the years.
✗ The Half-Assed Helper: don’t wander into the kitchen (several hours into cooking) clearly just looking for a snack and wandering out before you get an answer – you aren’t fooling anyone.
✗ The Pester Helper: don’t ask how to help on repeat just to feel better about not being helpful (the answer hasn’t changed since 5 minutes ago).
✗ The Inept Helper: don’t offer to do something that requires about 50 more questions.
✗ The Careless Table Setter: don’t set the table how you think the host wants it, with whatever silverware and linens you find.
✗ The Obliviot: don’t think dishes are only done at the end of the meal – DO NOT offer to help cook while completely ignoring the massive pile-up in the sink.
✓ Before the cooking starts offer to be on call for last minute grocery runs or the official trash-taker-outer (which gives you a legit reason to wander through the kitchen for snacks).
✓ It is not the host/cook’s job to think of things for you to do, ask to do something specific: load/unload the dishwasher, peel potatoes/apples.
✓ Know your strengths – offer to unload the dishwasher only if you know where things go.
✓ Ask the host, when they have a spare moment, to set one place setting so you can do the rest, following theirs exactly.
✓ There are always dishes to be done, especially when cooking is happening so take the initiative to tackle the pile in the sink and keep the cook company!