My (Limited) Thanksgiving Wisdom:
- I love a deep-fried turkey. It's something we only do once a year, so it's really special. What's not special is setting your house on fire. Apparently South Carolina ranks in the top 10 for Thanksgiving cooking fires. If you've never done it before, listen to Alton Brown for solid advice. Or just get it from Bojangles (Note: I'm in no way affiliated with Bojangles, but I thought it was neat they did this. Plus they make a bangin' chicken biscuit.)
- Delegate, delegate, delegate. I usually take on dessert and a couple of sides, my cousin has mashed potatoes, my aunt has collard greens, other cousins fry the turkey, my grandmother makes the roasted turkey & dressing plus other sides, my mom usually has mac & cheese...you see where I'm going with this? You don't have to put on a one-woman/man show. Everyone has a talent. Use them. If you're putting on a small dinner, don't think you have to have seventy side dishes. Pare down the menu, make smaller portions, and don't be afraid to buy (good-quality!) pie crust.
- Don't forget to take the giblets out of the turkey. They're definitely in there. And they can be used to make good gravy and dressing. P.S. I totally didn't realize the dressing my grandmother makes has giblets in it until my mom told me a couple of weeks ago.
- If you're not the host, bring your own tupperware. It saves your mom from having to find a matching lid to that slightly misshapen bowl that probably wouldn't close anyway.
- Don't forget to eat breakfast! You don't want to turn into a Grumpy Gus before the turkey's even done.
- My secret to eating everything I want is to plate portions about half the size of what I think I want to eat. Except mac & cheese. I always end up with half a plate full of mac & cheese. I know my eyes are usually bigger than my stomach, so this strategy keeps me in prime pie eating position. Um, that's totally my endgame. Because Thanksgiving is the one day of the year where it's okay to cover everything in gravy and eat thirty different dishes and five kinds of pie. So I don't cut anything out, I just keep the portions more in check. Plus, there's always leftovers, people!
You can totally make Butternut Squash Soup a day ahead for a soup course or appetizer.
Pineapple Souffle is a family favorite involving white bread and butter. Lightly fried. You just have. to. do. it.
Make my recipe for cornbread a day or two before you want to use it for dressing to give it time to dry out. Or just make cornbread instead of rolls. Ain't no shame in that game.
I might have to make this Warm Apple Crisp this weekend just to have it. Pre-Thanksgiving dessert is legit.
A tray of Molasses Spice Cookies would be nice, no? Instead of committing to a plate, people can just grab one on the way to the recliner.
My bff, Kaitlin, told me she knows a family who makes Pawleys Pie for the holidays. So there.
These Quick Pumpkin Custards are like a pumpkin pie without the crust. Good for guests who might be gluten-free.
A Pumpkin Spice Affogato is just decadent. It needs to be done.
Above all, be thankful and try not to get in any fights on Black Friday. Better yet, do Small Business Saturday! And have a happy, delicious Thanksgiving.