The first Thanksgiving my husband and I ever hosted, we crammed 21 people into our one-bedroom apartment. We lacked both a dining room and a dishwasher, but I refused to use disposable dinnerware. We moved furniture, borrowed folding tables, and arranged place settings for a full-fledged, seated meal for friends and family.
My parents came to visit early in the week, and my mom helped me host, because, well, I had no idea what I was doing. I was determined to make things the way she did and called her up to ask for her stuffing recipe in advance. As with most of her dishes, I was given vague instructions that barely resembled a recipe because often, she would improvise in the kitchen. I even have one recipe card from her that actually lists the ingredients and then says, “And from there, I kind of just wing it.” (Not the most helpful instructions when you're trying to impress your new husband, in-laws, and other friends and family with a giant feast on a major holiday.)
Although our apartment was crowded and I lacked well-written recipes, that first hosting experience was a success. My mom and I stood side-by-side, whipping potatoes and roasting squash. I learned how to make my first-ever turkey, she coached me as I seasoned the stuffing, and we talked through the timing of oven space. And 21 of us sat down together, eating off mismatched plates and taking turns drying the endless amount of dishes that piled up after the meal.
Now, several years later, I’d do a lot of things differently. I’d simplify the menu, use disposable dishes, and avoid staying up late to make handmade decorations. (Apparently pre-kids, I had much more time on my hands!) Despite my overzealous attempts at entertaining, I look back on that Thanksgiving with joy. But it’s a joy mixed with grief.
Continue reading and get the recipe at Coffee + Crumbs!
Full recipe and instructions can be found at Coffee + Crumbs!