During the holidays we all need helpful tips in the kitchen and we need help to sail through those sticky family/friends situations. As a certified business/life coach and foodie/cook I came up with 10 tips to keep your sanity and cook some yummy stuff on the biggest cooking day/family day of the year.
1. Spatchcock your turkey. Please don’t stop reading this, I promise I am not saying something bad. Spatchcocking your turkey involves removing the back bones and fanning out your turkey so you are only cooking the leg/thigh/wing and breast sections.This will help your turkey cook evenly. Martha does it in the Hampton’s, all the best cooks do it, and it cuts the cooking time down. Besides, who needs the bottom of that turkey anyway? Try it, you’ll like it. Check out how to here.
2. Silence is golden. Never pass up an opportunity to say nothing. Only bring love and good thoughts to the Thanksgiving table this year. When the craziness begins and you want to add your two cents in, put some more food in your mouth instead. Just love people.
3. Keep those mashed potatoes smooth and fluffy by adding a pinch of baking powder. Yes, you heard me right, baking powder. Trust me, and of course add lots of butter. In fact, keep an extra stick with you to dollop the top before serving. FYI, I put my mashed potatoes in a crock pot to keep them warm. Just a suggestion, ’cause nobody likes cold mashed potatoes.
4. Keep to one conversation at a time. I heard a great podcast this year on dinner party conversations by Michael Hyatt. His rule is that they have one and only one conversation at a time. Wow, this blew my mind. Of course you should keep the topic broad like world peace or global warming. And choose a topic that even your younger conversationalist can join in. Try it at your table this year.
5. Make that gravy ahead of time. You can pop that stuff in the microwave or warm it up on the stove and it will taste like you just made it. Gravy is my absolute favorite condiment; just had to make that clear before I tell you that messed up gravy is not cool. So, take your time, practice, learn from the best, get a good recipe and make it while the pressure is off. Whatever recipe you use, keep it a bit liquidy so that it will thicken up when you warm it up. Double your recipe; everyone loves leftover gravy, and you will be someone’s hero when they warm up their leftovers. You’ve got this.
6. Have those answers to questions ready. You know aunt Elvira is going to ask you what you have been doing with your life. So plan your two to three sentence speech on what you’ve been doing. Hit the highlights: work, school, graduation, trips, grades, who you are seeing, who you are not seeing, babies, and your personal time from your last marathon. And remember to always end it with “and I love my life.”
7. Have extras on hand. You should have extra ice, drinks and forks. If you are having a huge crowd, chances are you may run out of some of these things. Running out of food is one thing but running out of forks is just tragic. If you are using real silverware, buy a package of plastic ones to have on hand. This way you won’t have to stop and wash any silverware. Drinks and ice are also a must. Having an extra place setting and chair helps too, because you just never know who might drop by.
8. Not a time to indoctrinate or instruct. This isn’t the time to change people’s minds or teach them to change behaviors they’ve had for years. Just listen and ask questions with the purpose of hearing them and what they find important. Take a chill pill on those social issues you’ve been tweeting about this year. Just be in the moment and love those around you.
9. Pick up an extra box of ziplock baggies for leftovers. You want to send people home with all of this love and good food. So make it easy on them to take it home, without swapping containers or glassware. You can even slip some gravy in these things, boom! If you are going to someone’s house, take a box with you. Again, you will be someone’s hero at Thanksgiving.
10. Thank everyone. This is the time to say thank you and to be thankful. So why don’t we say thank you to the people we see on Thanksgiving Day? Why do we have to splash it all over social media for days leading up and then we see people and clam up? Tell your uncle how thankful you are that he showed you how to change a tire last year. Thank Grandpa for the money he sent you at graduation last spring. Thank your hostess and tell him/her how blessed you are to be there. We all like to be thanked. And just remember that no thank you is too small.
Happy Thanksgiving. Please follow this blog and find me on Pinterest.