Simplified Hosting / Skillet Cornbread with Puffed Amaranth
I've hosted many Thanksgiving dinners, I love it and consider it a gift to have so many people to love. I think part of my love language is feeding people, there is something so beautiful about gathering around a table, take a slow meal to disconnect from the chaos of the world and really listen to one another. It can be hard to engage when you're the one making sure everything comes out of the oven on time, but I've spent years sorting out out to host while enjoying my time with the people I love.
Here are a few "day of" hosting tips I live by:
Prepare As Much Ahead As You Can
Pull serving platters and utensils the day before
Chop veggies 1-2 days before
Cook anything that you can 1-2 days before (if this intimidates you, use someone elses guide and recipes from somewhere trust worthy like Food & Wine or Bon Appetit
Connect While You Wait
While the potatoes are boiling sit your booty down and engage in a good 5 minute heart to heart!
I generally start out with an outrageous plan and then dial it back a few times until I have attainable goals. For example, maybe I don't need 5 vegetables, 3 will suffice, and maybe I will make cornbread from the box instead of from scratch and sprinkle some puffed amaranth, toasted pecans and drizzle it with a little maple syrup to still make it feel special but not take all of my efforts and emotions. Simple, lovely and still delicious. (see below)
Think about what tasks could be passed off, or what dishes others could supply. This relieves the pressure of you doing every small detail and frees you up to breath and listen to someone's story while those potatoes are being smashed by a friendly face.
When you finally sit down for dinner, take a breath, look around, let go of the fact that you forgot the rolls, and enjoy the meal and the company surrounding you.
I hope these tools are helpful in allowing you to enjoy your time with your guests this season. If you are interested in a few other hospitality tips check out these posts: