I have little reason to stress over Thanksgiving. I don’t usually host a dinner -- in fact, I’m lucky enough to attend what must be one of the most elaborate ones in existence (I think you can guess whose I’m talking about). For me, the stress comes from what Thanksgiving represents: the start of a season packed with nonstop obligation. I don’t mean to be a grinch, but even the “most wonderful time of the year” can be draining when I barely spend any time with my friends (or myself, for that matter) from November to January. I’m sure many of you can relate!
So I combat post-Thanksgiving panic the best way I know how: by throwing a party. It’s a leftovers party, and it couldn’t be more relaxed. It’s an easy-come, easy-go open house, and the crowd can range from 10 to 30 people. The food is plentiful but simple: good bread, quality condiments, and heaps of turkey, cranberries, stuffing, and gravy. Guests are encouraged to bring their kids and sit on the floor with pillows (which are usually fashioned into a fort by the end of the day).
I don’t often entertain this way. For one, it’s the only time I can get behind a buffet -- I’ve always preferred plated meals for food-centric events. It’s a control thing, really. But here, it works. There’s no pretense -- my guests know that only the bread will be brought in fresh for the party. It’s a celebration of leftovers, and it is divine.
I love a good sandwich. But more than that, I love the chance to bask in some uncomplicated goodwill before the holiday madness begins. I’ve got a crazy entertaining schedule this year, and many of my friends are staring down an equally hectic month. We all know this may be our last chance to just hang until January -- so everyone makes it a point to attend. It’s become such an institution that Martha actually roasts an extra turkey to make sure we’ll have enough food to go around! We’re a good team.
For me, hosting this party each year is like trying on a new outfit I didn't expect to love. While I’ll stick with the sparkle for big events (and avoid buffets whenever possible), I can’t imagine a better way to use up leftovers.