Tips & Techniques

Amanda's Top 3 Tips for Thanksgiving Success

November 26, 2014

There's still time to make this Thanksgiving even better than the last. We asked our fearless co-founders for the back-pocket tips they live -- and cook and entertain -- by. Read on for Amanda's, and find Merrill's here

Today: Amanda's 3 ways to make Thanksgiving easier, funnier, and more interesting.

  • Plan for your turkey to finish roasting 2 hours before dinner so you can carve it, arrange it on a platter, dampen it with some gravy, and simply rewarm it in the oven 15 minutes before you serve it. See how it lowers your blood pressure and frees up your oven! Sit down and have a cocktail with everyone!

  • Seat your guests -- guests, like children, are comforted by structure. This way you can plan the seating and keep family dynamics in check (and you get to put the funniest person next to you).

  • Ask everyone to say what they're thankful for -- it's sappy, yes, but the host of a Friendsgiving I used to go to would always ask this, and it's amazing what you learn about people when they're nudged to engage.

What are your tips for a successful Thanksgiving? Tell us in the comments! 

52 Days of Thanksgiving
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52 Days of Thanksgiving

Top-notch recipes, expert tips, and all the tools to pull off the year’s most memorable feast.

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Amanda Hesser

Written by: Amanda Hesser

Before starting Food52 with Merrill, I was a food writer and editor at the New York Times. I've written several books, including "Cooking for Mr. Latte" and "The Essential New York Times Cookbook." I played myself in "Julie & Julia" -- hope you didn't blink, or you may have missed the scene! I live in Brooklyn with my husband, Tad, and twins, Walker and Addison.


Napa S. November 20, 2017
Another tip is let others help you a bit by bringing a dessert or a side dish if you want them too. Don't try and be "Wonder Woman" or "Captain America" and take on the entire feast by yourself. Thanksgiving does have the word GIVE in it. ;-) I always like more than one pie to choose from anyways. :-)
luvcookbooks November 26, 2014
I like the idea of carving up the turkey ahead, will try that. I also like the idea of asking everyone what they are thankful for-- once went to a dinner party where everyone was asked to bring a short piece of writing that they liked. It took the conversation in a whole different direction after dinner. Least favorite dinner gambit was a Living Will tied up with ribbon on the plate from a hostess who was anxious for us to make end of life decisions before it was too late. Even though I'm a doctor it was too much for me.
Amanda H. December 27, 2014
Thanks, Meg. I love the writing idea -- may try that out! Happy New Year!
luvcookbooks December 30, 2014
Thanks! As I tally up great moments, meeting you and Merrill in the Popup 2013 is up there! Food52 has (really) changed my life in the best way possible... Can't say it well, but mean it. Happy new year to you, too!
Amanda H. December 31, 2014
What a lovely thing to hear on this last day on 2014. Best wishes in 2015!
AntoniaJames November 26, 2014
I posted this in the comments to Merrill's best tips (and in the post re: carving), but it's worth repeating.
This may seem like a minor detail, but you'll appreciate this come carving time, which can be a fairly stressful moment for many, for a wide variety of reasons. Take the wishbone out before putting the bird in the oven. Makes all the difference in the world.

Happy Thanksgiving! ;o)
Amanda H. November 26, 2014
Excellent tip -- and thanks for sharing. Happy Thanksgiving and hope you have a great time on your annual hike!