Tips for the Thanksgiving Hostess With the Mostess

Stew Leonard’sExecutive Chef, Chef George Llorenswants to make your Thanksgiving easy, special, and fun for all. Here, he offers tip to make Turkey Day a fabulous family feast. Here he shares tips to help you satisfy and satiate all your guests.

Planning tips… There are many things a host can do the day before, like preparing the stuffing, cranberry sauce, sweet potato mousse and gravy – these items are great when re-heated, better flavor! Items like Brussels sprouts, asparagus, green beans, mashed potatoes need to be made the same day. Chef George also recommends maximizing your oven’s capacity. Put the turkey in first thing in the morning on the first shelf of the oven; on the bottom shelf, put all the things that take time to cook (sweet potatoes, stuffing).

How to choose a menu… Most people will stick with a traditional Thanksgiving meal (turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, etc) but others want Filet Mignon, Prime Rib, etc., so make sure you get any preferences from your guests well in advance. Also, when cooking, make sure there are no vegetarians before you decide which recipes to choose. It is important to be sensitive to different dietary preferences and restrictions.

Presentation tips… Always remember that your guests eat with their eyes! The turkey has to be nice and gold and the platter should be decorated with either a carrot rosette or kale. And always use your best china.

How to choose the perfect turkey… Never use a frozen turkey. Look for a free range, fresh turkey; you should ask where the turkey comes from and what kind of food it has been eating. Excellent quality turkey meat is never dry!

If you’re the guest… When attending a Thanksgiving dinner in someone else’s home, make sure you bring along a gift that shows you are thankful to share such a special day with them. A bottle of wine is always nice, but try offering to bring a dish! Potluck is all the rage, so take along a cranberry bread or pudding – something that goes well with a traditional Thanksgiving meal – to thank your gracious hosts.