Throw a Post-Turkey Day Party
By Alexandra Hall
Thanksgiving may be about togetherness and the gathering of family and friends, but the reality is, it’s just not always possible. In my house, for example, we have so many different family factions that it means some of us have more than one place we’re expected to be–and as a result we can’t wind up all being together.
Well, rather than whine about it once again this year, I’ve decided to have an extremely casual, all-day, rolling open house party the day after Thanksgiving. It’s not exactly another Turkey Day–although yes, there is turkey on the table. It’s more of a “show up whenever you want, wear whatever you want, eat and drink whatever you want, and just hang out for as long as you want, because we missed you yesterday!”
At first, I talked about doing so with just a small handful of family. But soon I found myself casually mentioning it to others–not only family but also friends, and even a handful of people we are also seeing on Thursday. Maybe only a few people will show. Maybe tons more than expected will. But whoever comes, comes. And on this day, not because they’re obligated to by the holiday, but just because they want to hang out.
The upshot? Now I’m even more excited about Friday than I am about Thursday.
Here’s a quick cheat sheet on pulling the whole thing off:
#1. Let your peeps know, of course. And remember to emphasize that people can swing by at any time between certain hours all day; there’s no set sit-down schedule.
#2. By virtue of #1, one of the best things about this kind of entertaining is, because it’s so casual, it’s relatively stress-free. Nothing has to be served simultaneously with everything else. Also, there’s no rule saying it all needs to be served hot.
#3. By virtue of #2, a buffet’s the clear way to go. If you’re hosting the meal on Thursday, simply make more than you need, based on the r.s.v.p. numbers you’re getting for both days. Remember to factor in an extra four to five people, for anyone extra who shows up unexpectedly.
#4. Welcome to the beauty of leftovers: I’m making a 24-pound turkey, serving it hot on Thursday, carving the rest of it Thursday night, and making that the fulcrum of the Friday, all-day buffet. The twist is that it will be D.I.Y. sandwiches with incredibly delicious condiments: homemade ginger cranberry chutney, truffle aioli, and the like–on sliced, rustic country wheat and cranberry-pecan breads.
#5. I’m relying on my nifty new Echo from Amazon to have my back on the tunes front. This crazy-handy thing answers my voice commands and questions, and plays whatever I tell it to as I’m cooking, including any songs off of Prime Music–a la their holiday playlists.
#6. Don’t bother with the annoyance and expense of putting together a full bar. Just stock up on wine, beer, and then one signature cocktail fitting for the day. Mine will be something I call Spicy Baked Apple: 2 parts non-alcoholic apple cider, to one part vodka, and one part Fireball cinnamon whiskey. Mix all 3 in a glass pitcher with ice and half an apple, sliced up and mixed in.
#7. Other key buffet ideas: Of all the leftovers, only mashed potatoes *truly* compromise taste when eaten cool. Serve the stuffing, squash, green beans, etc. at room temperature. But pre-prep 2 trays of potato croquettes, then fry one up at different parts of the day, when you have 5-10 guests in the house at once. The introduction of new food, fresh off the heat will excite everyone–especially since they’ll be delicious.
And that’s the kind of thing that makes everyone beyond thankful–even after the day of official thankfulness is over.