Thanksgiving is the time give thanks and enjoy time with family. It can also be a stressful time if you need to juggle multiple family engagements, or worse, if you are hosting this year. Preparing a thanksgiving feast takes a lot of planning, but is worth it when you spend it with good company. Here are some tips to throw a chic thanksgiving dinner.
Innovate your menu
Turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce are the centre of a thanksgiving dinner, but a few simple updates can up the wow factor for your food. Swap out turkeys with individual capons which are perfect for families that fight over the drumsticks. Add some kick to cranberry sauce by adding Grand Marnier (my mother’s secret), or apples, pears or squash with the stuffing. For an informal dinner, create turkey sliders with cranberry sauce as ketchup and mashed potatoes, sandwiched between a ciabatta or yorkshire pudding bun.
Set the scene
While the turkey might be the centerpiece of your table, it’s incredible what a few place cards, candles and fresh flowers can do. An easy arrangement is to spray paint pine cones with metallic paint (or a coordinating colour scheme), and use them to hold name cards to make your guests feel special. Gather branches or leaves from the outdoors (make sure they’re dry) to cluster around the bottom of a floral vase. Sunflowers match the harvest theme, or if you can find them, a modern vase filled with Chinese lantern plants is unique and quirky.
Bring the cafe home
Pumpkin pie after dinner is a given, but instead of serving your guests plain french press, up the ante with a pump of pumpkin spice syrup. If your guests are tea drinkers, make autumnal chai tea lattes with a bit of vanilla extract. An easy but delicious drink is hot cider. Warm up a jug of organic cider on the stove, ladel into mugs and pop in sticks of cinnamon for extra spice.
Plan some activities
Beyond the big feast, plan a few activities for your guests. A round of Scrabble or Cards Against Humanity will lighten the mood and maybe distract them from the big game. If the TV ends up being on the whole time, join in with a fun bet. Maybe the loser will have to take home all the leftovers.
Thanksgiving leftovers are impossible to avoid, so why not give your guests something unique to take their meals home? Skip plain plastic tubs with elegant glassware. If you have time, you can buy inexpensive glass paint to stencil on festive designs. It’s a nice gift to give your guests, and you will be happy when you won’t have to eat turkey sandwiches for the next three weeks!