Many people across the country are frazzled by preparing for Thanksgiving, scribbling shopping lists, clipping coupons, searching recipes and inviting guests to what they feel is the the largest, most difficult, extremely fattening and most fun-filled family gathering of the year.
We Jews laugh. After all, we prepare for this size event every Friday night and Saturday afternoons, in between kiddushes and Shabbat dinners, Bar and Bat Mitzvah celebrations and informal friend get-togethers.
We even bake our own “dinner rolls,” also known as challah, with a special blessing.
Thanksgiving 2017 trends seem endless. But one theme is tied to all of them, from the menu, decor and even activities: Everyone wants to put their own spin on timeless traditions.
The star of the day will always be the turkey. It wasn’t always, but when President Abraham declared Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863, because of its size and availability, choosing just the right bird became the simplest challenge to fulfill. This year, blogs, cooking shows, and magazines feature preparing parts of turkeys precut by butchers, particularly breasts, solving the important hostess questions, “who eats what part?” and “how do I make the dark meat juicy, skin golden and the breast not dry?”
Is it Stuffing Or Dressing?????
Many people eat the bread cubes soaked in multiple liquids and various fruits and vegetables during Thanksgiving and don’t even know what they are eating. It just tastes good! Stuffing is what you cook inside the bird and the dressing is for those that love that crunchy topping made in muffin tins, casserole dishes and even silicone molds. The most popular trend this year, however, calls for a healthier mixtures with cauliflower rice as the star. Recipes for sweet or savory versions are readily available. Trader Joe’s has a ready made blend (not-kosher), and many caterers are offering it as an option this year. May I Have The Recipe, a website that caters to seasonal, healthy vegetarian and vegan recipes with an occasional indulgence, features a simple, 20-minute version that is rating five stars and many hits on the Internet.
While desserts in past years have featured donuts or cupcakes, this year’s must-have dessert is a bundt cake. Traditional Thanksgiving flavones including Apple, Pumpkin and Assorted Nut variations are still the stars, in styles ranging from abstract to Thanksgiving classics. Coincidentally, National Bundt Day is November 15th, so many experiments for “Turkey Day” will be tested by some familiar judges: Family members who stroll in and out of a baker’s kitchen.
Nordicware, probably the best known bundt mold manufacturers around the world, not only sells the molds, but prepackaged mixes for pumpkin, apple, chocolate and spice cakes, too.
According to Alla Shema, owner of Jerusalem Florists, which caters to a tri-state clientele, people are going all out this Thanksgiving, decorating multiple rooms and front door entrances like never before. She expressed that while many go with traditional themes like orange floral and green leaf arrangements, she saw two trends in early pre-orders: “The current trend of black and gold, seen in many black-tie events, is going to take center stage next to the mashed potatoes. I am working with talented hostesses who are using multi-size gold vases, and we are also getting orders to help decorate not only the dining table, but family rooms, kitchens and even basements, where people will gather for dessert and football.”
“This year for Thanksgiving, white pumpkins are all the rage! White pumpkins lead to a more rustic and soft decor but are extremely versatile, said event planner Megan Auerbach, a popular blogger, adding, “They also can bring a fall look to china you use on a weekly basis! Innovative placecards are also a fun touch this year! Pomegranates or Pears with a guest name written with a metallic marker are unexpected and easy for any hostess! Just pick up a few extra when you’re shopping at your local market! Cider Mimosa is my favorite fall cocktail! It’s simple and crowd pleaser! Add a splash of cider to your favorite brut and rim the glass with some cinnamon, sugar, and an apple wedge!”
My Own Traditions, Tips and Trends
If you are like me, either you or a guest accidentally broke the top to a gravy boat, chipped a ladle or dropped a plate, ruining your desire of having a complete set. I use this turkey gravy bottom as a vase, this year incorporating whites and lilacs with sweet potato pie and string bean casserole. I have great memories using this mold to make Thanksgiving jello and cranberry molds with my grandmother. This year, my gefilte fish will fill the mold and when removed, share my platter with condiments and surrounded by mini gourds and lady apples. Contact me for more of my ideas.
The best part of Thursday is that we get to start cooking, table-setting and hosting all over again the next morning.