Ready for Part Deux of the FakesGiving planning process?! [no idea what I’m talking about? Click HERE]
Alright, now that you’ve got the invitations sent (or, almost?!), it’s time to figure out the main event, and frankly, my favorite part of any party: FOOD.
First off, as the host(ess), it’s customary to provide the main course, which in the traditional sense of FakesGiving is a big, roasted turkey (or two, depending on how many people are coming). Which is, yes, a pretty big undertaking. BUT, most of the work is in the prep, which leaves the rest of the day for you to let it cook while you start setting things up.
As for your guests — they will be providing the side dishes. Here is a list of some items that guests can sign up to bring (especially helpful for those guests that say, “I don’t know what to make?!”):
- Green bean casserole
- Sweet potato casserole
- Pumpkin pie (or other flavors)
- Mashed potatoes
- Roasted veggies
Alright, now for the big show: TURKEY TIME.
1. How much turkey do you need?
My girl Martha Stewart told me that you should bank on 1-2 lbs of turkey per person. When buying a smaller turkey (12 pounds or less), there is a greater bones-to-meat ratio — which means you will want to err on the side of 2 lbs per person. Make your calculations based on how many people will most likely be attending, and whether or not you want leftovers [in my case, YES, obvi you want leftovers].
2. Buy a turkey (or 2)
Simple and obvious, you say? HA! This isn’t my first turkey-buying rodeo, ladies and gents. First of all, don’t wait until 2 days before FakesGiving to go buy that turkey, because, depending on your grocery store, they might not even have any in stock — AND, you need to defrost the thing, after all.
Here’s what I suggest — call around to several of your local grocery stores and make sure they have them in stock! Depending on how close your event is to Thanksgiving, they might even have sales. NOTE: don’t wait until the last minute — you need 3 days for them to defrost! Which brings me to my next point…
3. Defrost the bird(s)
There are 2 methods of thawing a turkey: fridge time [24 hours per 5lbs of turkey], and the cold-water method [1 hour per 2lbs of turkey]. Consult this handy turkey-thawing calculator to figure out how much time you will need, and how to make sure your turkeys are ready for preparation and cooking!
4. Get cookin’, good lookin’!
The birds are defrosted, it’s the morning of FakesGiving, and you are awake bright and early to get your turkeys prepped and cooking!
You will need to count backward from about 30 minutes before you want to sit down to eat on Fakesgiving Day [giving you time to remove the turkey from the oven and carve it]. If this is your first time making a turkey, give yourself extra time for the preparation.
In short, here are some frequently-made mistakes:
- Forgetting to rinse the inside of the bird (yuck)
- Not taking the giblet bag and neck out of the inside of the bird (double yuck)
- Putting a wet turkey in the oven — make sure to pat it dry, so your turkey gets golden and crispy
- Forgoing the seasoning — it’s easy to remember to season the outside, but don’t forget to season the inside with salt, pepper, lemon, onion, celery, and herbs of your choice, like rosemary, thyme, and sage
- Stuffing the turkey — although it might look pretty, the stuffing needs to cook to an internal temperature of 165ºF in order to be safe to eat, which means your bird will likely be overcooked by then
Sure, there is more than one way to cook a turkey — brine, roast, smoke, deep-fry, barbecue, and so many more — but click the link below for a super-easy version. Feel free to run wild from there!
5. Carve and Serve
To be completely honest, I don’t usually do this part, which is why our FakesGivings always turn out beautifully-sliced turkey pieces [thanks to my mom and/or husband!] Therefore, here is a link to a video from Real Simple on how to carve a turkey.
And now, the important part… getthefoodouttothetableandfeedyourstarvingguestsasfastasyoucan!
Delegate someone (or yourself) to start carving the turkey. While this is happening, turn on your oven(s) to 350°, grab a few trusty friends, and start putting casserole dishes in the oven to warm up for a few minutes. Cycle them through if necessary, and start staging them on a large table for serving. Don’t forget to give each one a serving spoon/tongs/fork!
Rally your guests around in a big circle, hold hands, say some words of Thanksgiving, and let’s. EAT.
#goodfood #goodmeat #goodgravy #letsEAT