As Thanksgiving is also a time for sharing, following are 10 helpful tips to garnish the day:
Count backwards. Does the turkey need to thaw? How many pounds equal how many hours equal when do you want to serve the meal? (See aforementioned article and my personal struggle with cooking the perfect turkey.)
Start a family tradition. If you don’t already have one, state up front, “And in keeping with our family tradition, I’d like to...” This sets it up right there. No one (except, perhaps, an offspring), will ask, “What family tradition?” In our house, before diving into the feast, we hold hands, go around the table and say something for which we are thankful. Note: if launching this tradition, give it some thought beforehand.
We tend to forget that Thanksgiving for the Pilgrims was a picnic. Not recommending we go quite that informal, but still...
Forget the starched linen napkins. They will only get gravy stains.
Put goblets above the knife, to the top right of the plate. (Note: Goblets are not the same as giblets.)
Take a break at some point, relax and place your bet for “Best in Show” at The National Dog Show on NBC.
Back at the table, show-off your host/hostess grace: Serve from the left. Clear from the right.
Give extras points (silently) to anyone who passes the salt and pepper as a set, even if someone only asked for one.
Don’t go overboard on the selection of pies. Three pies are more than enough if you are having 10 guests or less. That’s 24 slices of pie, people.
Know the word “schmootz.” It is a piece of food, e.g., a small dash of the mashed potatoes or pumpkin pie crust that went astray on the chin. Or the cheek. Or somewhere else on the face. It is perfectly polite to say, “Excuse me, but you have a schmootz.” To be exquisitely helpful, point to its location on your own face.