Hosting a traditional, sit-down Thanksgiving dinner at home is an act of generosity that's recognized by everyone on your guest list. With our help, it can also be surprisingly simple. These step-by-step instructions will help you determine exactly what the menu will be, how to decorate for the occasion, and what your timeline is. We feature video recipes from Karen Bates, owner of The Apple Farm, a working farmhouse in Philo, CA, complete with cottages and cooking school. Karen demonstrates the preparation of her multi-generational family recipes of roast turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie. Our decorating video shows you how to set a formal table and accessorize your dining space to achieve a warm autumn ambiance. Familiar dishes and a beautiful table are there simply to provide the setting for loved ones to gather and break bread together. With that in mind - and an arsenal of recipes and advice to guide you - it's easy to have fun creating the most anticipated meal of the year.
A formal Thanksgiving doesn't have to be a white tablecloth-and-polished-silver event to be elegant. In both decor and menu, a seasonal aesthetic that's beautifully expressed, a use of high quality, natural materials and small thoughtful touches are all that guests need to feel the Thanksgiving spirit.
With food at the heart of the occasion, most of your effort as host will go into preparing the traditional meal. That's great news since the menu is well-established, and most people look forward to a familiar, straightforward interpretation. Make it special by using fresh, organic ingredients and preparing what you can from scratch. Go for quality instead of quantity - or even better, generous quantities of top-quality dishes. Karen Bates'simple recipes require very little early preparation, so that most of it can be done on Thanksgiving Day.
What can be done early is the decorating. Set the table, arrange the flowers and wine, and assemble the seating on the night before. If you set the table earlier, remember to dust the plates with a damp cloth. We recommend focusing on the dining room, using tradition and seasonality as twin themes. In our decorating video, we started with not a full tablecloth, but our floral Georgetta Autumn Runner. Set on top of a wider, white runner, they set the entire color scheme of the table.
White ceramic provides a unifying foundation for the food. Try incorporating a variety of shapes like our Great White Rectangular Platter and the reactive white glaze of our Pomegranate Collection to add textural interest within a limited palette.
In contrast to white, our Copper Chargers and colorful Turkey Plates are layered into each setting. Copper, whose warmth reflects the candlelight and fire of the hearth, is repeated in the floral centerpieces displayed in our Anatolia Copper Vases. We chose seasonal flowers of a deepest purple like coxcomb, black dahlias and plum leaves as dark as wine. To highlight our choice of Beaujolais nouveau, a young wine which makes its annual appearance in November, we served it in carafes, wrapping their handmade labels with simple twine.
By Thanksgiving morning, the dining room should be done and your kitchen should be ready for power cooking. Start the day with a list of kitchen tasks. In general, begin by assembling the dressing, mashing potatoes, and making pie crust. The cook can rest and dress a couple of hours before guests arrive, while the turkey roasts and the pies bake. As guests arrive, you can be caught preparing appetizers, salad dressings and opening wines, social activities that allow you to chat and prep at the same time.
Top off place settings with the intricate images of wild pheasant and turkey in our Turkey Plates. Each unique plate is richly illustrated to add autumn color to the Thanksgiving table. Place our Harvest Copper Charger underneath to bring out a burnished warmth that's echoed in our hand crafted Anatolia Copper Vases. Their textural natural beauty is accented by wrought iron handles that are forged by hand.
Our Great White Collection provides all the large serving platters and bowls you need to feed a crowd. The Large Oval Serving Platter is generously sized, with the extra-wide, sloping edges that let you easily carve and serve a large turkey.
Our pure linen Hemstitch Napkins in White bring welcome contrast to the rich floral colors of our Georgetta Linen Runner. Consider using runners instead of tablecloths to let the rich wood grain the dining table show through - a decorative element on its own.
The chipped white and crackle finish of our Tuscan Collection adds rustic Italian character to the rugged ceramic shapes. We added branches of green persimmons to the double-handled vase, and repurposed the Large Round Pillar Holder as a cake stand for pie. The tall, tulip-shaped Taper Holders in two sizes bring height and dimension to the buffet.