Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Celebrations, Fall, Family, Food, Friends, Holidays, Ideas, Kitchen, Life Lessons, Thanksgiving, Traditions | Posted on 10-11-2011
Tags: cooking, cranberry, don't, holiday, Jell-O, Martha Stewart, pie, Thanksgiving, tips, turkey
Don’t host. Just kidding!
I have been around the Thanksgiving table, so to speak, many times. I have hosted Thanksgiving many times. Even to my own mother and to my in-laws (gasp!) And they are particular….wonder where I get it from?
I have learned a few things that you probably do NOT want to do when hosting Thanksgiving.
- Don’t try to channel Martha Stewart. But do steal some of her tips and recipes. Martha is a kitchen fairy with lots of helpers. We copied her last year with her Pureed Butternut Squash recipe. And let me tell you, it was delicious and tasty. But it was a lot of work and you had to stir it constantly. And it took up a whole burner on the stove for hours. And ya know what, the kids hated it. Said it looked like throw up. It just was not worth the hassle for the few compliments it did generate. But if you are stubborn–and I know some of you are–here is the recipe.
- Don’t skimp on the pie. If you just have one pumpkin pie to share among everyone at the table: you suck. My motto and ratio for hosting: one pie per person. And who says only apple? We did apple and pecan and I just might do chocolate cream. Who says? Here’s Pesky Pippi’s Perfect Pecan Pie–I mean Martha’s recipe:
- Don’t forget to take OUT the bag of giblets before cook your turkey. And don’t try to hide them in the stuffing or the gravy. I’ll heat them up for my dog, Lucy, but they are still simply repulsive to look at and eat. In my book.
- Don’t guess how long to cook a turkey; be precise. Buy a thermometer. This is not a good time to spread salmonella or E. coli. We have gone for years guessing. Hmmm, done yet? How about now? And then we have wound up with some well-cooked turkey, that’s for sure. Pass me a glass of water to wash it down (choking).
- Don’t dis the orange-carrot-pineapple Jell-O mold. Traditions are awesome. And this colorful dish kicks ass.
- Don’t be shy about offering several kinds of cranberry. My husband and kids love the smooth, formed kind from the can. My father-in-law likes the chunky kind from the can. My mother and I like the cranberry relish my grandmother used to make. You chop up a bag of fresh cranberries, add bits of fresh oranges, chopped pecans, and sugar to taste. Set it aside the morning of (or the night before). It’s beautiful and fresh. I cannot have Thanksgiving without it.
- Don’t forget to let the rolls rise…early. Craptastic: last year I bought fancy rolls instead of the crescent rolls that you bake in like seven minutes. I thought, oh, I’ll just throw them in the oven at the last minute. Come to find out, they required rising and sitting and rising and… So at Thanksgiving last year? No rolls.
- Don’t dump flour into the turkey drippings and expect beautiful, lumpless gravy. Now, this I learned from–again–Martha. She told me to make a roux. As in, take a little bit of turkey drippings into a separate bowl, add a bit flour to help thicken, stir, THEN add into the pan of drippings and heat. I have made Pesky Pippi’s Perfect Gravy without fail every time. So good, just give me a straw! Oh, and throw in onions, parsnips, turnips, carrots, celery in with the turkey while baking. And the flavors sorta ooze into the drippings. (Another Martha tip.)
- Don’t send guests home with leftovers. Hello, turkey sandwiches on Friday!
- Don’t stress too hard. I actually HATE when people tell me this, because I am a stresser. But you are not Martha Stewart–unless Ms. Stewart, you are reading this–and it’s more about togetherness than if the gravy has horrific lumps.
- Don’t forget to partake. Anything goes great with turkey: wine, beer, beer, wine. And with the pressures of cooking and serving and worrying, “Dang, did I overcook the turkey AGAIN?” it’s also time to chill and be with family and friends.
- Don’t forget to lighten up. The most important thing: be thankful that you have food on the table and you have loved ones to share it with. Regardless of how it looks or how it tastes. Remember how Charlie Brown had toast at his Thanksgiving spread?