What do you think you are doing sitting here reading this column? It is the Sunday before Thanksgiving, and if you haven’t yet planned your menu, made 37 lists and then kicked yourself for volunteering to host all these yahoos at your house — THEN YOU ARE BEHIND.
This year, I am thankful to not be in charge of a huge meal. So I have time to pass on some giblets of wisdom as you work for days to prepare a feast that will be consumed in roughly 17 minutes.
Turkey Day Tip 1: When in doubt— just keep basting.
I made my very first turkey when I was 24, and I probably used four pounds of butter on that bird. My grandmother, Annie Lou, came to my house that year and bragged that it was the best turkey she ever had. She would bring it up every Thanksgiving we enjoyed together thereafter. In hindsight, she was probably just saying that because she loved me. These last few Thanksgivings without her have been a little dry.
Turkey Day Tip 2: If you’re going to mash five pounds of potatoes, why not go ahead and do 10?
This logic is brought to you by my husband and his brother. A few years ago, they suckered my mother into undertaking a 10-pound mash, and I don’t even know how she cooked that many because we don’t own a cauldron! The good news is we had enough mashed potatoes for 18 people to enjoy on Thanksgiving Day, with an extra 6 pounds of leftovers for Mike and Matt to eat later that night and on Black Friday. Nothing extends a party like too much food, and the leftovers are the best part because by then we are all more relaxed. The pressure for everything to be perfect busted a few hours ago along with our belts.
Turkey Day Tip 3: Take the cellophane off the rolls *before* you bake them at 375 degrees.
There’s no metaphor here, readers. This is just a good rule to remember if you don’t want to ruin five pans of dough you’ve had on the rise since 6 a.m.
I don’t know where you will find yourself this Thursday, but wherever it is, I hope you are surrounded by gratitude, love, butter, and potatoes. My best memories and moments have happened around a table. Community flourishes when we break bread together, so if you have an extra place setting, consider inviting someone in.