Talking about Thanksgiving when the pumpkin spice latte has just made its debut may feel overeager. But if you’re hosting your family for the biggest meal of the year, now is the perfect time to begin turkey scheming – especially if you can’t feed yourself without access to a take-out menu. Since no one wants to serve a dry bird to judgmental in-laws, we’ve got your back. Overwhelming though the main meal may seem, Thanksgiving is a great time to learn to cook.
Learn How To Baste a Turkey Before Your Mother-in-Law Shows Up
You will need to nail some basics before approaching the giant bird, but two months is plenty of time to prepare yourself for turkey dominance by getting some cooking classes under your belt. “Thanksgiving is a great place to start because it’s good, wholesome food,” says food expert Christine Doherty Kondra.
After years spent traveling to farms all over New England, Kondra knows good, wholesome food when she sees it. In her opinion, the right ingredients can transform any family table into a five star banquet. “Focus on great, whole foods and you can have restaurant quality food at home,” she says. Stock your kitchen with simple but high-quality ingredients and your holiday feast will satisfy even the loftiest sticklers.
Thanksgiving = The Ultimate DIY
“While you can hire a private chef, I think the whole point of Thanksgiving is family,” Kondra says. If your fallback plan of sneaking a caterer into your kitchen has been whisked away, never fear – most basics can be easily and quickly learned. How to make gravy, for example. “People try to complicate it,” explains Kondra. But it’s a very straightforward recipe. Don’t panic if a recipe starts throwing around words like “roux”. That’s just a fancy word for flour and stock heated together.
Farm It Out
“If you’re in an area near farms, there’s a lot of amazing stuff,” Kondra says. If you go to a farm instead of your local big box grocery store, you can claim the freshest vegetables and free-range meats. You’ll also be presented with opportunities to branch out. For example, using delicata squash to supplement the standard pumpkin.
Give Your Bird a Deadline
“The key is to be prepared,” explains Kondra. Before the big day, write out every recipe step-by-step and give yourself a detailed schedule. If you have any questions, take them to your next cooking class and ask the teacher for help. Timing is key and understanding when you need to start what will help you avoid mid-afternoon panic on the day.
“In the end, Thanksgiving is simple,” Kondra says. “It’s about family.”