For many of my non-Jewish or less religious friends, Thanksgiving is a time of frustration. How can I prepare so many courses, make a table pretty, have a large crowd and then make use of all those leftovers?
To many, like myself, we prep the homemade breads, soups, desserts and main courses for every Friday night and Saturday. We host guests and buy flowers, plants and religious items that adorn dining room tables.
In fact, it was just over a month ago that we had to prepare over 100 special meals.
We do it with kosher preparation restrictions and the lack of electricity use.
And, we love it.
This year will be different. Less crowds and smaller budgets for many. But, as always, we make it work!
One of the biggest food trends this year is homemade Challah rolls. I have been asked by many of friends about how to braid and twist mini challahs, good recipes and things like flour choices, and recipes.
I suggest for new bakers the following, follow your favorite baker and use their recipe. Use a challah roll mold. They can be found online or in many kosher supermarkets. Don’t make challah the first time with 5 pound flour bags— the amount is overwhelming. Don’t be scared of the preparation time. Most of all, try again during the year with different recipes and find the one you like best.
Here is a previous Thanksgiving buffet of foods including a brussels sprouts slaw, roasted broccolini with “facon” and a Israeli roasted chestnut stuffing.
Despite COVID and travel restrictions, many are still grateful for living in the land of our constitution and the freedoms our amendments give us to defend ourselves, voice our opinions and vote and will celebrate.
Like myself, many will have small, intimate gatherings. Nevertheless, menus will contain overstuffed birds, dressings, gravies, lots of root vegetables, and many pies. No one will count calories or stop at one drink.
I decided to make Thanksgiving as special as ever — and that includes the décor. However, like many of us, I wanted to be creative AND on a budget.
I did not spend one penny on this year’s Thanksgiving décor—but I love how it all came together.
Here are some tips:
Go through drawers and closets for vases, dried flowers and art supplies. You would be amazed what you find.
Think out of the box. I decided that I was going to mix modern black, gold and silver with traditional browns and rustic colors.
Mix materials. I mixed bone China with plastic and paper in different place settings. Mix heirlooms with finds from discounted craft stores. You can even alternate settings and have have fun with different napkins and folds.
Get your family involved. Have children color placements and make place cards.
Don’t limit your décor to a table. I decorated my front lawn, various tables in other rooms and even added fall scents and paper hand towels with pumpkins and leaves in the guest bathroom.
Use water pitchers and extra gravy boats as flower vases. Use cinnamon sticks, whole nutmeg balls, fruits like persimmons and pomegranates in your decor. Nothing is a pretty as a fresh stalk of Brussel sprouts and then using them in a recipe over the weekend.
I have a few gravy boats that have tops that broke. In the past, I filled them with mini cactus or succulents. Everything seems to have a use if you are creative.
Finally, I’d your stores are not shut on lockdown, shop for sales after Thanksgiving for clearance goods. You can even find plates, cups paper and artificial flowers at amazing discounts. Even if you find four plates, they can be used to serve side dishes or desserts.
Happy Thanksgiving and Enjoy Those Leftovers On Shabbos!