I’m not gonna lie, while the thought of entertaining excites me, it also gives me hives. I grew up with a mom who enjoyed entertaining and did a marvelous job of it, but was on razor’s edge during the entire process. She wanted everything to be perfect and her brood out of the way.
I can commiserate with that feeling. I’m already having butterflies at the thought of having Thanksgiving at my home this year. (We usually go out – no one trusts me with a turkey, or actually anything that happens in the kitchen.) I want it to be perfect. The timing of everything impeccable. The decorations pristine.
Not gonna happen.
You know what? It doesn’t matter! I’m just trying to relax and remind myself the most import part is the family will be together.
(Oh, dear God, the family will be together!)
If that doesn’t work there will be lots of wine, yummy side dishes I can’t possibly screw up, and dessert. And, of course, incredible decorations! This year not only will we be celebrating Thanksgiving, but Hanukkah as well. Lucky me! The possibilities of decor are endless, and will go a long way in distracting what might not look, um, edible.
To help me with this culinary feat, I’ve asked my dear friend – the hostess with the mostess – Elaine Maltzman, who when not whipping up fabulous meals, is Director of Marketing for the enormously talented designer, Timothy Corrigan, for a few tips for making a fabulous holiday dinner. Surprisingly, it doesn’t include nipping at the cooking sherry. I’ve tried this – it doesn’t work.
She believes in planning ahead. Waaay ahead. Market lists, setting the table, arranging the buffet, mise en place (fancy shmancy talk for recipe prep), are done up to a week in advance and she has it down to a science. Bless her heart. It’s no wonder, when you walk in her door, she looks lovely, relaxed and in control. She doesn’t sweat the small stuff, neither should you.
Elaine suggests measuring out the dry goods ahead of time, placing them in Ziploc bags and including a list of what needs to be added on baking day. Some side dishes and desserts can be made a day in advance, so spend your time wisely, and don’t leave everything to the last minute. I’ve learned this the hard way.
Setting up the table and dessert buffet ahead of time, if you’re lucky enough to have the space, is a lifesaver. Elaine recommends turning glasses upside down until the big day, then give a quick wipe down to everything on the table the morning of your event.
Love the attention to detail. It’s the little things that make it special.
And, voila! The table is ready to go, all you have to do is get busy in the kitchen, and make yourself gorgeous.
Have any tried-and-true entertaining tips of your own? Please share in the comments below.