It is Monday. It is Thanksgiving week. Let the stress of the season commence. I highly recommend the following to help you get through it without ending up in the looney-bin. I often get asked how I stay so calm during the Holiday Season, especially when I not only had to organize and execute my clients parties and meetings, but also make sure an entire hotel was decorated and staff, BUT how was I able to remain calm and collected for my own dinners, gatherings, and hosted events with loved ones (and some not so loved ones). So I complied a list, which I am sure will be on going. But none the less I hope it helps you get through Thanksgiving, Christmas and Chanukah and New Years.
1)Wine. Lots of it. It is not just for cooking. On the day before and the big day, say around 11am, grab a coffee up, put a few ice cubes in it and pour some chardonnay. Sip all while prepping everything.
2) Set the table at least 2 days ahead, because who has the time while cooking and entertaining to iron the table cloth, runner and napkins. If you are using place cards set them and forgot them. Or have someone else place them and leave them!!! You don’t need to stress over who is sitting next who. Seriously. Floral arrangements can last up to 24hrs on tables as long as they have fresh water.
3) Make sure all kitchen towels are clean and ready go. They are used not just for drying dishes, but taking items out of oven, cooling pads, and can easily go air born when needing to throw something at someone. And they are decorative if you want to follow the festive theme throughout your house.
4) Apron. Yes Apron. It is a must. I for one hate trying to get flour out of my cable knit sweater, my jeans (or pj bottoms if I got up and just started cooking). I hate it. Plus, when you have an unexpected guest come over, you simply take off apron and poof, you don’t have to change clothes.
5)Bloody Marys/Mimosa’s for day-of. After coffee, this is a family tradition in my house. It used to be just eggnog with Capt. Morgan, but as I got older and grew a taste for vodka, plus my Uncle Charlie makes the best Bloody Marys, we started drinking those.
Uncle Charlies Bloody
High Boy Glass, Rimmed with Celery Salt, Filled with Ice Cubes. In shaker add
1oz /1.5oz Smirnoff Vodka (it is the only vodka I use for Bloody Marys)
V8 Juice. Regular. Fill glass to about 1/2 inch short of the rim. 2 dashes Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce, 2 twists of fresh ground black pepper from your grinder. Squeeze Fresh Lime Wedge over drop in, toss a Green Olive or 2 and Fresh Celery Stalk. Now, if you want to make it fancier, add shrimp cocktail, or pickled garden veggies, like asparagus, zucchini or summer squash.
5) Wine. Not super fancy, but not $7 regular price either especially if you are having over 8 people. I recommend at least 4 bottles each of red & white. Figure, as bad as this sounds at least a bottle per person, not that they will drink that much, but think about it. How many times are guests putting down their glasses and walking away. Or God forbid, someone spills theirs! For Reds, Pinot Noir, Merlot, and any good blend. Lighter reds balance the heaviness of the bird. For Whites, Chardonnay, crisp not buttery, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chenin Blanc.
6) Invite your guests to come at least 45min earlier that what you have planned for festivities to start, because you know at least half will be late, and that will throw off your dinner. No one wants a dry bird or ham or roast (especially a well done one).
6)Remind guests that if they want left overs, they need to bring their own tupperwear 7) Do Not Stress about making sure you have food to cover everyone’s particular diet requests. They can fend for themselves. This is your dinner, not theirs.
8) Use fancy plastic/paper goods when applicable. Especially for the kids table, beverages and hors’ doeuvres, and dessert.
9) Take your vitamins right before bed and drink a glass of water. Trust me you will not have a hangover the following morning.
10) When it is all over, dishes done, leftover put away and everyone in bed, find your quiet place, pour a scotch or bourbon and put your feet up. You deserved it.
Happy Thanksgiving Y’All!!!