Hosting Your First Thanksgiving
Your family's Thanksgiving torch has been passed, and now it's in your hands.
We know that hosting Thanksgiving dinner for the first time can be overwhelming, but before you decide to curl into a ball and cower under your dining room table until Black Friday, allow us to share some helpful advice. We've got a collection of tips to help you run your Thanksgiving dinner as efficiently, smoothly, and enjoyably as possible. Take a deep breath, read on, and by the end of this article you'll be ready to take on Turkey Day like a seasoned pro!
Timing is Everything
The most important (non-edible) ingredient for a successful Thanksgiving dinner is good timing. Make sure you schedule out adequate prep time, cooking time, and resting time for each dish. If your turkey is frozen, don't forget it'll need several days to thaw in the refrigerator. If you're brining the turkey, make sure you factor in the time required for that too. Which foods will be cooked on the stovetop, and which ones need the oven? How much will the temperature need to change between each item? These are all factors to take into consideration when determining what time you'll start cooking, the order in which you make everything, and how to keep things warm before serving.
If it Heats, it Helps
As you may have guessed while reading the previous paragraph, now's the time to call upon every possible cooking or heating appliance in your kitchen. Dig through your cabinets and take an inventory. Slow cookers, indoor grills, toaster ovens, even hot plates – if you have a gadget that'll save a space on the stovetop or in the oven, use it. This is also a perfect excuse to upgrade your supply of appliances. If you've been meaning to buy a particular cooking tool – a new pressure cooker or a cool electric skillet – now's the time. Technology has come a long way since the days of the pilgrims, so take full advantage of all the 21st-century conveniences that make cooking easier!
Delegate, Delegate, Delegate
You're always happy to help when you attend an event at someone's home, right? Why should it be any different when roles are reversed? If guests offer to bring a dish, let them. If someone volunteers to help on the day of the dinner, thank them and assign them a task. People will be glad to lend a hand – especially since they know you're new at this – so don't feel guilty about taking people up on offers to assist.
Plan a Dress Rehearsal
Yes, it's a lot of work, but doing a full Thanksgiving test run a couple of weeks beforehand is not a bad idea. All the little details you may not think about will be faced head-on, and you'll be much better prepared for the actual day. You'll get a crystal-clear idea of the food prep timing, the appliances required, the cookware you'll need, and the amount of plates and silverware you have to work with. If adjustments need to be made, you'll have plenty of time before Thanksgiving to make those changes. As for the dinner itself, why not use it as an excuse to get some friends together for a little "Friendsgiving" gathering? Your stress levels will decrease not only because you'll have a better idea of the timing and flow, but also because you'll get to enjoy some time with your buddies!
Make it Yours
Don't let the stress of hosting Thanksgiving overshadow your chance to have some fun with it. You probably remember Thanksgiving unpleasantries from childhood like choking down Great Aunt Mildred's watery mashed turnips, or gritting a fake smile at Grandma Millie's cheesy pilgrim decorations. Well, you're in the driver's seat now – it's your turn to create the kind of Thanksgiving you've always wanted, so go for it. Serve that weird-but-delicious appetizer you saw on Epicurious. Make your favorite side dish exactly how you like it. Create the world's greatest dinnertime playlist. Decree an ultra-casual dress code. It's your home and your event, so make the most of the opportunity to do things your way!
Hosting Thanksgiving dinner is far from impossible, and we are here to provide you with all the essentials for the big day. P.C. Richard & Son has a massive selection of small appliances, cooking gear, and other extras to get your kitchen stocked and ready for anything. Start shopping today, and find everything you need in time to have a happy Thanksgiving!