Fall holidays have always been a sweet spot of celebration for me. In the Septembers of my youth, back-to-school marked fresh new binders and a new year of learning opportunities, then October brought my birthday, celebrating Rosh Hashanah with friends, and Halloween—however dampened by parents forcing us to wear thermals or a winter coat over our costume, thusly ruining it (other New Englanders can deeply relate to this travesty). Basically, from September to December is, and always has been, an excuse to party. And by party, I mean eat.
Growing up in a large (read: loud), extended Polish-French family, every gathering focused around cooking and food. Thanksgiving especially is akin to the Superbowl for us; picture a caravan of relatives the morning of dropping off bundles of baked goods, drinks, and a row of Instapots on the kitchen counter as far as the eye can see, before heading to the local Turkey Trot or homecoming game. Without my grandparents, we do our best to recreate the famous stuffings—meat and bread—and also used to have an infamous Bake-Off, but that got too contentious so now we just eat pie in silence and no one has any scathing remarks or critiques, right?
Beyond the food fights, Thanksgiving was always the time I got together with all of my extended maternal family who were scattered across the world. Thus, our November holiday was that of a Christmas-Thanksgiving hybrid, complete with all the presents, decorations (oh yeah, we were on the Christmas-as-soon-as-possible train before any of y’all), merriment, and caroling that comes with winter festivities.
To be fully transparent, I don’t love turkey. It’s just not my meat of choice, and I’ve never had a not-dry one (sorry Mom!). But, a honey glazed ham is ALWAYS welcomed and encouraged at my table, especially if you let me pick at the glazed skin a little bit before carving.
I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t love a green bean casserole, except my stomach. When I saw this veganized version (basically just dairy-free), I was over the moon. No more staring at others’ plates longingly and making everyone uncomfortable. Also, this recipe “Serves 4,” which means I get to eat it all weekend long.
Do you want to impress your cousin who always seems to have a reservation to the hottest restaurants? Wow them with the cult-favorite salad from Via Carota, a perfectly light and refreshing side dish, no posturing in line next to a B-list celebrity required. Look, I’ve had this salad, and I know at its core it seems simple, but it really just works. Trust me.
I love camping, ergo, I love s’mores. This holiday-spiced bent on the fireside classic hits all the right notes for me: sweet, gooey, and warming. Plus, it’s an unexpected companion to the dessert table filled with pie.
All I want for the holidays is a nap after a big meal. Settle in after your feast with a cozy blanket (also makes a great host gift that you can immediately make use of. You’re just breaking it in! You’re doing them a favor.)
The two hallmarks of the holidays are: leftovers and casseroles. These stoneware dishes give you both: a cooking vessel and a storage solution. No fussing with cling wrap or foil!
Le Creuset Stoneware Rectangular Dish With Platter Lid
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Many people I talk to about going home for the holidays always complain about the same thing: the drawer at their parents’ house filled with dull, old knives. This set is a reliable, affordable kit. And, you’ve got loads of handle color options, so don’t be afraid to match that Mediterranean backsplash your mom loves to show all the guests who come over.
Showing up empty handed to a party during the holidays is stressful. Take the stress out of figuring out whether your hosts drink a dry white or a full bodied red by gifting them an infused vinegar that will become a staple of their household.
Food52 Our Very Best Italian Sweet White Vinegar with Thyme, 8.8 oz
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