Hi there. We're food editors. It says in our secret handbook that this is 'round about the time we're supposed to start making you paranoid that you're not doing nearly enough to prep for Thanksgiving dinner.
It is our job to induce bowel-churning panic that if you don't commence shopping, chopping, prepping, setting, fussing, mussing, trussing NOW, your friends and relatives will spend T-Day sitting cross-legged on bare cement, gnawing saltines and semi-thawed Hot Pockets, cursing the day you were born.
Eatocracy rejects that premise.
Over the next 25 days - including yes, the very day of - we'll be sharing our time-tested hosting tips and recipes, as well as plenty from chefs, hospitality experts, celebrities (that's always fun, right?), hosts and home cooks we love. Our goal - sending you into Thanksgiving with a confident smile on your face, and seeing you emerge on the other side with your sanity intact.
Don't be a martyr, be a host.
Never let these words escape your lips or your typing fingers, "You don't have to bring anything. Just bring yourselves." "I've got the whole thing taken care of." "Oh, I don't need any help, but thank you."
Turning away offers of assistance is a recipe for disaster, even if you do legitimately feel as if you have everything under control. Sure, some people are offering with the hope and/or assumption that you'll wave it off and they can just show up, gobble and retire to the sofa.
Chances are, though, that friends and family members actually want to contribute to the festivities. Some people love having a job at a party, rather than just milling around, waiting to be served.
Others might offer to bring something specific - sweet potato casserole with marshmallows, cornbread dressing, a particular pie - either because they love to make it and wish to share it with others OR because to them, it wouldn't be Thanksgiving without that dish. Either way, take them up on it. They mean well.
If it's a dish you also wanted to serve - heck, still let them them do it. No one will perish at the presence of two (2!) corn pudding options on the table. If you're afraid of a little competition, look at it this way: If people gobble theirs up - more of yours for you. If the crowd favors your offering, then your guest will have the (ahem) pleasure of having their own leftovers to tote home and enjoy.
Perhaps you're worried about other people getting in your way, not doing things exactly the way you'd like them done or just plain ol' screwing up your system. Fretting and fussing won't get the gravy made, and it'll just make your guests feel unwelcome.
Either take a deep breath and just let them go ahead and help, or - here's where some strategic planning comes in - assign them a slightly time-sucking task at a location far from your work path. Set up a green bean trimming, napkin ironing or heavy cream beating station across the kitchen or in another room and put them to work. That'll teach 'em to be all irksomely helpful like that.
There is also, and we bring this up very gently so as not to harm your feelings, the slight possibility that it makes your guests uncomfortable to see you straining and rushing like that. No matter how much you think you have everything under control, there's a distinct chance that you're giving off a slight whiff of panic, and that puts your loved ones ill at ease.
Sure, they might remember that your cornichons were arranged just so, or that the pie crust was trimmed to within .005 millimeters of a perfect circle, but they will DEFINITELY remember that you were running around like a lunatic, making anyone who approached you feel as if their giblets were in peril. If there's someone who thinks less of you for accepting an offer of assistance, that person ought to feel free to make Thanksgiving plans elsewhere next year.
And hey - if you're stuck for suggestions as to what people might bring, consider large platters, disposable plastic containers for leftovers and bags of ice.
You can never, ever have too much ice.
Got a Thanksgiving query or dilemma? Need techniques for roasting turkey or just looking for recipes to bust up your holiday rut? Wanna know what one of our anchors eats for T-Day? We're here to help. Post your question in the comments below and we'll do our best to assist.
My daughter is making Thanksgiving dinner again this year. She does have everything under control and it will be fabulous as usual. AMANDA ROCKS.
Re: Laid Back Thanksgiving. There is no need for competition, chaos in the kitchen, or bruised sensitivities if the menu for Thanksgiving takes cooking time into the the planning. Crockpots and ovens eliminate the need for last minute cooking. If people ask what they may bring, suggest desserts like apple, pumpkin and mince pies, either bought or home made. Bread and condiments, prepared in advance, do not require kitchen time. Flowers also make a good contribution to the dining room. Be sure to set the table in advance. Open and allow the wines that your have chosen to complement your dinner to breath in advance, too.
Sounds like some people just want to show off, one up each other over food. Some of you have completely forgotten what Thanksgiving means. I would happily welcome any dish offered.
Thanksgiving is my favorite. Every night that week after I come home from work I make one dish. Cranberry Casserole, next my vichissoise, next my stuffing. Thanksgiving am, stuff the bird, peel the potatoes. The other vegetable dishes I let my guests bring or a favorite dessert. Last minute, make my gravy and wahla it is done! A good day had by all! Love help with the clean-up. Plan a wonderful day!
My wife is a nurse, which means on a regular basis I cook for the holiday meals. I agree completely, if someone wants to help...LET THEM!! My favorite help is with the dishes and clean up. Except for the year a really good friend came. At the end of the day when most of the guests were gone and the place was clean again he went to his car, brought a nice (and by that time nicely chiled) bottle of wine and served 2 tall glasses. And while I sipped the great wine, he treated me to a deeply needed foot massage. Talk about Thanksgiving!
please change the picture of the undercooked and yellow pie..........looks gross...........geez, when talking about food, please have a decent picture....
Meh, never have been a big fan of Thanksgiving. I hate going to the in laws' house. Even before I was married I didn't like it because my mother forced me to be in the same room as my sister who I now haven't spoke to in five years because she's a psycho beotch. Then there was my older brother who'd hog the TV all day long and he'd be exercising right in front of it the entire time. I'm the kind of person that likes to hide in a cave and be left alone! lol
My thanksgiving has snowballed from my boyfriend and I hosting my brother and his girlfriend (who live 10 minutes away), to the four of us, everyone's parents, some grandparents, and some other siblings. I'd love some tips for how to handle cooking for 12 people out of a 400-square-ft apartment with 3 (very small) burners and an oven that can only fit one half-sheet pan at a time.
My brother is handling all the appetizers and drinks, but so far I'm doing everything else because literally everyone other than them is coming in from out of town...Panic doesn't even really begin to describe my feelings about this Thanksgiving.
I would highly recommend a pickproof Masterlock.
The easiest thing is to rent or borrow a roaster. (The older ladies around your office might have one to loan) It handles the bird, leaving the oven for a casserole pan or rolls. Cook your casserole(s), cover them with foil and set on top of the oven and they'll stay warm while you bake the rolls. Most of the rest of the stuff can be done on the top of the stove.
We're here to talk you down. Worry not. We'll cover the topic this week.
Cook everything but the turkey a night or two before. That way you can just reheat everything, and only worry about cooking the turkey on the big day. OR require everyone to bring a side dish (usually, telling people what side dish to bring works out best so that you don't end up with 4 green bean casseroles and no mashed potatoes) so that you only have to worry about providing the turkey. ALSO, instead of one huge turkey, you may want to consider cooking two smaller turkeys instead. It's just easier to manage.
McDonalds has a new 50 piece mcnugget meal, if all else fails. You'll never have to worry about getting roped into hosting again, either.
One thing I would love to see in the coming weeks – a guide to Homemade Cranberry Sauce. I have always read that it is so much better than canned, but have been too intimidated to try it.
Morgan, all the guide you need is on the cranberry package. Boil sugar and water and add the berries. That's it. Takes 10 minutes and you can make it the day before. You'll never willingly go back to the canned stuff.
I love Thanksgiving! My mother, older brother and myself spend the day in the kitchen cooking for everyone, while my grandmother, uncle, father, and younger brother hang out in the living room and watch football. Everyone gets to do something they love, and at the end of the day we all get to enjoy a beautiful meal together.
love the info here I am wanting a new recipe for sweet potatoes I am having kids and family in town from Texas I am in az. They will certainly help Can't enjoy the day without help Thanks for the support
We'll definitely help you out with sweet potato recipes. How are you making them right now?
I completely disagree that, as a host, you should allow someone who offers, to bring one of the same dishes you're making. If they can't stand the thought of a Thanksgiving dinner without THEIR sweet potato casserole, stuffing, or whatever, then they can stay home and eat it. Hosts probably should take guests up on their offers to help or to bring something in order to make everyone feel that they're contribuing to the event, but guests should also be respectful of what the host is making. Why are we becoming so accepting of rudeness?
I'd agree with you on that for a regular dinner party, but for Thanksgiving, tradition trumps the host's ego. So many people come along as "strays" to other people's Thanksgiving meals. It's nice for them to have some sort of continuity with their own traditions - and share them with a new bunch of people. Where's the harm?
I just want to say thank you for this article. It was written with me in mind. (Is it good that I know that about myself?) I offered to do Thanksgiving for my entire extended family and told my mom "I have everything under control" but after reading this – a nice awakening – I've realized I want to enjoy my Thanksgiving as much as the rest of the family, so I will open my arms to eveyone's offered dishes. :)
That pie looks like PAC-MAN.
I was thinking that earlier. Then realized they probably meant it this way.
I would like to get some traditional Polish foods for Thanksgiving as my Grandson gave me this computer for this very reason. He likes my cooking.
I get ALL the pie!!
We have a one pie per person ration in my house! Thankfully, the pie leftovers last for days.....Oh how i love the days following Thanksgiving. Brie and turkey sandwiches with cranberry sauce are sheer bliss
this is why I read this article, all these people posting hate... depressing
your post made me smile... why I choose to read this article, thank you for posting
thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. i usually cook everything and tell people not to bring anything... of course by people that's usually only my mother-in-law. she'll bring a tiny package of something so everyone can have a "taste."
I would love some great ideas for a vegetarian Thanksgiving .. main courses, sides, traditional or not – anything that's relatively simple, delicious, and moderately healthy (i.e., no heavy cream)!
WHAT!? you cant have a healthy Thanksgiving meal!!! You are supose to have meat(turkey), fatting sides(with heavy cream), and good ole fat pie
!! NOT TOFO!!!!
My Husband is a vegetarian and it's usually just the two of for Thanksgiving so I make all the sides. I still make stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, sweet potato soufle, cranberry sauce, steamed broccoli and cauliflour with cheese sauce. Plus we order about 4 pies from this great bakery in our neighborhood. Who needs Turkey when you have all the sides??
mmm – tofurky!
This makes me hungary :)
Really? It makes me more Croatia, but you know how that eastern bloc is...
What is Croatia?!!
Mmm. I'm gettin Slovak.
what kind of name is that?? Jdizzle McHammerpants... r u just in high school and bored???
i R in HS. Cause the chicks are more perky than in real life. I mean RL.
whatt is RL?? we r in HS too
RL = real life. Or real lips, which is better.
This is making my so Latvia right now
THIS LOOKS GOOD
YUMMY YUMMY IN MY TUMMY THIS LOOKS AMAZING FROM rhs!!!!!!!!!!!! in rocktown, GA
Looking for a good, basic, easy stuffing/dressing recipe that can be done in a casserole. Never enough room in that darn turkey!!!!
Bonnie-Try BobEvans.com-made a sausage stuffing last year that was great. Check out Butterball.com as they have several recipes also.
Try Pennsylvania Dutch potato filling. It's a yummy blend of mashed potatoes and bread stuffing baked in a casserole. Very easy to make. This recipe appears to be double what I usually make. When I make it for non-PA Dutch ppl, they always flip over it.
Laid back, nice idea. I'll be working my back-side off all day Thanksgiving so that "americans" can run out and go shopping that night and all weekend in the spirit of true capitalism...
Truth, please take my husband hunting with you and get him out of my kitchen. He means well but he is ALWAYS standing where I need to be! :)
JSK: Have you tried "Red Silk Panties"? Cranberry juice, vodka, peach schnapps. Goes great with turkey!
I wear those everyday. I also carry a turkey leg in my pocket. Just in case.
What are measurements for each?
I think JDizz takes a medium, but you may want to just send a gift card instead...
Magnum. With a box of rubber bands.
+Tax-I thought they rolled on?
They do, like a stretched out sweater that you need a belt for. X)
I'm LOLing at my desk. I better stop.
This is why you have "cool" brothers like Truth and myself. We are always ready to help you get in trouble at work!
I like this one! I will take it under advisement, thanks.
BTW – great name.
Our family has Thanksgiving under control...The 14 of us go to the Dominican Republic, let the resort cook, and enjoy the scenery. No family fights, and we actually have a great time.
Thanksgiving is my fav holiday. Get up before dawn, spend the day hunting, then get back in the midafternoon to a huge meal, then football. My wife cooks her self into a stupor and gripes if I even try to set foot in the kitchen...
Change thy name to Lucky.
Actually, GF is the same way. She spent the weekend on a "girls night out". Ended up shopping for me the whole time, then came home and cooked me enchiladas (amongst other things she did for me). I love women.
That was way off topic. Thought I'd share.
I think your gf and my wife went to school together, despite the different generations and continents...:)
Kathleen, send him to CO...we'll keep him busy, but count your blessings that he wants to help...:)
Some people don't mind a fluffy little piece like this served right next to the hard hitting news stories. The lead in to this story pretty much gave you a clue to what it was a bout – if you don't want to read this kind of story, don't click the link.
Hey Deployed military...if you are really deployed than thank you and be safe...however....we hear enough doom and gloom. It is nice of CNN to write a little something fun to lift the grey cloud of war and unemployment news. If you don't like these artcles, read something else. As a foodie I say..thanks CNN.
We like to have a "signature cocktail" for the adults. I'm lost for ideas this year. Will one of your 25 days of recipes and tips include cocktail recipe ideas?
How about Cosmopolitans? Contains cranberry juice and vodka - very festive. Lots of recipes online.
Good idea (my wife loves them) but we've done them in years past. Thanks for the suggestion, though.
Prosecco with cranberry juice and a splash of lime. Really good.
Another good one, Thanks!
chocolate martini with a peppermint stick as a swizzle – yum!
I have Thanksgiving under control this year...I've been invited to a friend's home. I'm relieved as I really wasn't up to doing the cooking this year and I'm excited about being able to dress up for dinner this year. Yes, I'll be wearing my pantyhose.
Me, too. Only.
Thanks CNN...take away any Afghanistan news from your front page, put on 'Black in America' then THIS worthless piece of 'journalism'. This just demonstrates you are officially worthless in the media department and do not take 'newscasting' seriously. Bon appetite...schmucks.
What?! You only use ONE website to get your on-line news?!?!? Stop whining and go to other websites as well as this one. And what are you doing online anyway? Aren't you supposed to be busy protecting your country????
Dear J.B.B., You are officially the biggest DB on this site. Many thanks to Deployed Military for his/her service and post. Unfortunately those in the military cant pick and choose whose freedom they fight to defend because I'm sure you would be left protecting your pitiful existence all by your lonesome. My guess is you couldn’t even defend yourself from a school-yard bully when you were a kid.
@ Retired Military Dude – FYI – CNN can be accessed from anywhere in the WORLD. Probably why he said "your country." And guess what – YOU are the school yard bully. Everyone is entitled to their opinions. And while I thank Diployed Military for his/her service – he and you are the biggest DB's around. Thanks for making those who serve the US out to be total brats.
Dear Retired Military Dude,
Believe it or not, not everybody asked for the war. God I wish I lived in Switzerland.
This isn't a 24/7 "War/Military" news site. If you would like that, may I direct you to "Star and Stripes"
Lay off. it's a fricken food article – LISTED UNDER THE FOOD CATEGORY!
Wow, someone peed in someone's cereal or coffee this morning....
Been in 10 years now... not every piece of news needs to do with the wars, we'd be a very gloom-and-doom bunch. Don't make the rest of us well-rounded and courteous veterans and service members look like bitter assholes like yourself. Take yourself back to FOX News and leave the rest of us be. Thanks.
HA! you used FOX and news in the same sentance!
Dear DB #2. Please learn how to spell basic words before you post a statement criticizing someone else. The last time I checked, sentence is spelled with three E's unless the liberal world has changed that too. I actually like liberals; they are like having a puppy with a mental disorder...
@Retired Military Dude – Name calling, profanity, pointing fingers...please do not disgrace yourself further. This is an article about THANKSGIVING. Want to go postal – go to Faux. Nobody here wants hear from DB like yourself.
Some of us like to read about other things beyond all the horrors of the world. Obviously you feel the same too since you clicked on, read, and then responded to the article. I hope your Thanksgiving stinks.
I believe you must have read this article, right? Than what the heck are you complaining about? If you did not want to read the article and all you like to see for news is war and murder, then go on over to FOX and stop clicking on articles like this one. Let those who appreciate reporting and commentary that is on the lighter side of life to enjoy it without your rants.
Yes! You should stop paying for this service immediately! Oh, wait...
What a delight you must be at the holidays.
A. There will always be war or a natural disaster in one part of the world or another. Should we postpone all family gatherings and the associated reporting, accordingly and indefinitely?
B. If you are indeed, deployed – this is your job, you chose to be and are paid for. Or, wait, should we commiserate with every ER nurse out there and stay up at night? Or every taxi driver? Police officers catching the bad guys? Should all fun reporting cease to exist every time there is a pursuit for a bad guy on the street?
You do what you choose to do and what you choose to get paid for. Of course, your job is uttermost important – and in the relative scheme of things – so it the job of any medical professional, researcher, nurse, and taxi and ambulance driver. And while every single one of them and us deal with deaths, emergencies and long hours at work – we would like a bit of fun reporting on family holidays, thank you very much.
you do know that the msm are government tools right look up operation mockingbird if you don't believe. I must be slightly bored since there is no probable way in hell this is getting past their censors.
well i guess it's different on the blogs although it might disappear later.
Your Busted Worm. Look out the window!
Schmuck off, whiney troll humper. A fourth of the main page is dedicated to terrorism the warmongering in the Middle East. If you don't want to read about food, then don't click on the link to the food blog. Otherwise, get off your ass and go find Osama so that I can stop footing your internet bill with my taxes!
Thanks for speaking up!!
OOOPS hit send too soon!!! Thank you for speaking up...my hubby is 'over there' and since he cannot talk about 'there', it was good to go to a single point on CNN and read what he could be going through. It disappeared a few weeks ago and have been bummed ever since...I enjoy CNN's variety, but it was such a good source of info for me. :-(
You know, not every piece of news on this extensive site needs to be front page news. And if you didn't want to read an article like this, why are you in the Eatocracy section? Who willingly clicks on one of these articles fully expecting what to get then complains about it? Amazing.
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