Surviving Thanksgiving

Something that I love about being a foodie/home cook/kitchen warrior, is talking food and entertaining with others equally as obsessed. There is no better holiday to go totally overboard with this as Thanksgiving, a day devoted solely to the meal we look forward to all year long.
The Martha Stewart Sirius channel has, for the three days leading up to thanksgiving day, a Thanksgiving hotline. Famous chefs join each show, and answer all kinds of questions from all kinds of home cooks.  Example: Rhonda from Virginia : "How long do I microwave my stuffing for?" Really, come on people. The guest chef very kindly advised her, that "Chef Mike" (aka the microwave) may not be the best vehicle for "cooking" stuffing.
This got me thinking about my own experiences, and what advice Martha might have for me. Here is how it could play out:

  • Me: I can't find the little bag of giblets inside the Turkey.  I've been looking for a half hour. 
  • Martha: If you can't find the little bag of giblets in the Turkey, it's not in there. It couldn't be anywhere else, duh.
  • Me: Step-grandma-in-law is non-responsive at the dinner table.
  • Martha: Check in with your relatives every few minutes at the dinner table to make sure they are still conscious. Between the turkey and the martini's, you could get some sleepers. If not, call 911. (She's ok now, just so you know)
  • Me: Husband's grandparents are arguing over when the turkey went in the oven, and there is no thermometer in sight.
  • Martha: politely pretend to eat the turkey. Don't really eat it though.
  • Me: I just realized that grandma's special recipe stuffing is actually the recipe on the back of Mrs. Cubbison's dressing mix box.
  • Martha: Why didn't you make mine in the first place?
  • Me: We just don't feel like participating this year in Thanksgiving.
  • Martha: It's ok to tell respective sides of the family that you are attending the other's Thanksgiving, and then just stay home and watch football. (Not that we ever did that)
  • Me: My potatoes are lumpy.
  • Martha: Refer to them as "rustic", made in the old world style.
I am looking forward to two more days of endless Thanksgiving advice. One woman called in trying to figure out how NOT to let her mother-in-law bring the side dishes that she insists on bringing, which are less than desireable. The answer: Have her bring them, but also make all of them your way. When she arrives and questions you-- "ooooohhhhh I totally spaced what I had asked you to bring...."
Then you are just the ding-bat daughter in law, and not the super-bitch daughter in law. And you get the brussell sprouts YOUR WAY. This is invaluable information people.

One thing that I think we can all agree on, is wine should be served generously. You may want to wait until the majority of your "mission-critical" cooking has been accomplished before too many libations, as disaster could strike. No one wants to strain the turkey gravy right down the drain, instead of into a pot just before dinner is served. This could also happen by moving too fast. Slow down, you literally have ALL day to put ONE meal on the table.

Since I'm no Martha, and all of the advice you would ever need is just a satellite signal away, I will instead share with you my favorite tools for surviving Thanksgiving dinner:

Apple peeler/corer/slicer:  For grandma's perfect apple pie!

Potato ricer:  No lumps in these mashed potatoes!

Really good vegetable peeler (spring for that $15 one, it's worth it)

Garlic chopper:  I just got one of these, what a neat little tool!

Gravy Separater:  Takes the guess work out of gravy!

Survival handbook for when things get really bad

Burned your bird?  Here is the silver lining:

  • The smoke alarm was due for a test
  • Carving the bird will provide a good cardiovascular workout
  • You'll get to the desserts quicker
  • Uninvited guests will think twice next year
Happy Thanksgiving!!!


  1. I am dying, I am laughing so hard! To you from me - It's the holidays, let the drama begin!

  2. My Mom complained about my vegetable peeler this weekend for out early Thanksgiving....guess I need to invest in a $15 one. :) Happy Thanksgiving, drama and all!


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