How To Be The Hostess With the Mostest
“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure.
In cooking, you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.”
― Julia Child, My Life in France
This goes out to all the home cooks, those of you who somehow ended up hosting the traditional
Thanksgiving dinner. It isn’t the most fun task in the world, but the good news is if you are the
one doing the cooking, you know what is going into everything you will be eating.
Let’s make your life before, during and after Thanksgiving a little easier. This will enable you to
get in touch with what you are most thankful for, other than how next year your family is going
to Mexico so this chore can never be hoisted on you again!
• Many things can be done ahead of time to alleviate stress. Order your groceries online if your
community has such services available, versus going to the grocery store on Wednesday night
with the rest of humanity. Everything that can be made ahead of time, make it. Cook the
starches on Tuesday or Wednesday so all you have to do on Thursday is cook the twice baked
potatoes or put the sweet potato casserole in the oven to warm up. Set the table ahead of time,
order centerpieces to be delivered and make sure you have enough ice…
• I recommend outsourcing as many things as possible. For example, if 10 kids coming over and
you know none of the parents ever feel like watching them, hire a babysitter for a few hours. If
you can not fathom the idea of cleaning everything up, put an ad on Craig’s list, you never
know when a college student might want to make a couple extra dollars before returning to
school. The same thing goes for any dish that is way too time-consuming or stressful, as I
would define making a piecrust. I do not believe anyone truly cares, and I buy the nicest pre-
made ones I can find, and if that is going to offend my guests enough they never want to
return, then nice knowing you!! You can get the whole meal catered, or you can have everyone
bring a dish, it is your decision.
• Have a planned activity for after the meal, this will help with your guests hanging out forever,
god love them, as there will be a defined end of the activity and it will be a firm stop to the
eating-a-rama. I like things such as playing a board game, watching a pre-recorded
Thanksgiving special (not a game as those can go into overtime) or going for a walk.
Something to signal to everyone the night is over, so you can put up your feet.
• The next morning, have something nice planned for yourself. If you love Black Friday, go shop
your little heart out. Another choice could be to tell all the adults in your house, to keep the
kids quiet, as you are sleeping in. I would go for a massage and a mani/pedi but to each his
own. As long as you can recharge your batteries.
• To tackle the piles of leftovers, I recommend giving away as much possible Thanksgiving
night, minus the turkey and green vegetables. Here is the reasoning: everything else is once in
a while Holiday food at best. So, why would we eat it for the next 3 days? Treat the turkey like
any other poultry and make turkey fajitas or turkey noodle soup. Google “recipes for leftover
turkey” and see the countless options made available. The green vegetables can be reheated.
Your family does not need 4 different types pies hanging around the house! Do you want to know
why? Because they will be eaten instead of nutritious food.
At the end of the day, what really matters to your family and your guests is the mood of the day.
If the host is stressed out while cooking, the meal will not be as nourishing. Now, if that means
your pies had to come from Whole Foods in order for you to be in a celebratory mood, who is
that hurting? It is more important for everyone for the mood in the room to be lighthearted. Do
what you need to make that happen. Be thankful you can look out for yourself, speak up when
needed, and not sweat the small details.
Have you ever heard the story of when Julia Child dropped the turkey on her cooking show and
still cooked it? It actually never happened, but many people think it did, Something way less
significant occurred once with a pancake, but that isn’t the point. The reason I am bringing this
up now is to illustrate the reason she is a legend in the kitchen is because of her light-hearted
attitude. She would play with the turkey and say funny things like “A party without cake is just a
meeting.” Aspire to be a Julia Child type of hostess, even if you need to reheat the gravy twice
because it isn’t warm enough.
Tomorrow, be sure to look out for your Thanksgiving Plan of Attack. A guaranteed way for you
to have what you truly love on Thursday, and yet not wake up on Friday regretting it.