Whether it's your first Thanksgiving or your thirtieth, feeding a holiday meal to a crowd can be intimidating. We speak to our local source, Winston Rice and Ian Willis of The Foodist, on how to get a head start, minimize stress and stay organic for this holiday season.
Keep Up with Tradition: Growing up in the south, tradition was the number one rule and never deviated from. Our meal was pretty much the same year after year as most dishes had been and have been passed down from multiple generations. Staples included but not limited to were (of course) Turkey with gravy, mashed potatoes, oyster casserole, cranberry and orange relish, homemade rolls, corn pudding and homemade stuffing.
Prep in Advance: Prepping in advance is the key to a less stressful Thanksgiving. Make your shopping and prep lists about a week out so you know what needs to be done and when. Shopping 4-5 days before the big day is a good start so you’re not fighting the crowds and you can make sure you have everything you need. Have a few coolers on hand for extra storage for your perishables so your fridge remains uncluttered. Prepare any dishes a day or two before that just have to be put in the oven the day of the feast. Remember, you can never be too prepared!!
Make Simple Snacks: Simple snacks are the best way to keep your guests from hovering in the kitchen and to help you save time and energy. The grocery store is your friend when it comes to simple snacks that require little to no work on your part. A crudité platter with hummus or other dipping sauces is very easy and usually pleases most people, deviled eggs can be made the day before and are always a crowd pleaser and for a fancier option caviar on ruffles chips with crème fresh.
The Day of: If you have prepped properly, the day of will be easily manageable. Make sure you have made your timetable for all items that need to be cooked and follow it. First take everything that needs to be cooked out of the fridge and bring to room temperature. Prep the turkey for roasting and give yourself enough time for it to cook and rest before serving. These two are the most important steps then the rest will fall into place.
Leftover Re-Use: Leftovers are a favorite in my house, almost more than the actual than Thanksgiving itself, there is nothing better than a late-night turkey sandwich piled high however there are more options than the typical sandwich. Make the most of it all by transforming leftovers into satisfying pizza, hashes, pot pies, waffles and more. Try covering a pizza crust with mashed potatoes and fixings, make poutine with turkey, gravy and cranberry sauce, make a waffle with your stuffing and cover with turkey and gravy or make a turkey frittata with all your veggies.
Remember that the holidays are a time to come together with family and friends and enjoy a meal and a cocktail. Enjoy!
Contact Winston Rice of The Foodist for your private chef and baking needs.
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