9 Steps to a Beautiful and Stress Free Thanksgiving | Step Three - Pre-Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving

“Remember, 'No one's more important than people'! In other words, friendship is the most important thing--not career or housework, or one's fatigue--and it needs to be tended and nurtured.”

Julia Child, My Life in France


Step Three - Pre-Thanksgiving or "Friendsgiving"

Over the last few years I keep hearing the term “Friendsgiving” more and more. I’ll be honest with you, I don’t care for it. First, it’s a clunky, ugly term. It makes me think if my Grandmother's green velvet sofa or a ugly Christmas sweater. If we must have a term, lets think of a sexier one. “Friendsgiving” seems like something someone put very little effort into coming up with. Second, I think it is limiting. Who says you can’t invite a few strangers? Food and wine is meant to share and bond over. Finally, it’s misleading. I love my friends and it is great to see and share with everyone. But let's be honest, this is really just a chance to try out new recipes. Thanksgiving is too important to go into without a tested set of dishes and this type of gathering is really to provide me with feedback. We have always referred to this day as “Pre-Thanksgiving.” It might not be sexy. But it is accurate and compared to “Friendsgiving,” it doesn’t look that bad.

Pre-Thanksgiving was born the year I planned to host Thanksgiving for the first time. In late October I said to myself “I have never cooked a turkey before. Do I really want to risk doing it for the first time in front of very hungry family members?”. The answer was no. However, I was willing to take that risk with a few friends and lots of beer and wine on a casual early November Saturday.

You can think of “Pre-Thanksgiving” anywhere from a soft restaurant opening or a dress rehearsal to a chance to take some risks, be unconventional and have some fun. This can also be a time to relax and enjoy. For those that host, Thanksgiving can be stressful. I’ve never allowed myself to fully indulge in the day. But with no out of town guests and a very different set of expectations for the day, Pre-Thanksgiving lets me indulge and enjoy the day in a very different way then I do on Thanksgiving.

I don’t necessarily test out every food dish I plan to serve on Thanksgiving during our Pre-Thanksgiving meal. I’ve made these mashed potatoes a million times so maybe I’ll test out a new sweet potato recipe instead. And sometimes I’ll even make things that I wouldn’t dream of making for the masses on the real Thanksgiving (ah, the year of creme brulee and bison sliders!). It’s a step above just having your friends bring a dish to pass and a step below the full blown Thanksgiving day spread.

Pre-Thanksgiving at our house doesn’t just stop at the food. While I test out recipes for the real thing, the wife and I also use this as a time to decide what serving dishes work best or how the decor might work. How will we set up the dining room? Will all the food fit on the table or should we set up a buffet?

Whatever you call it and whoever you invite, Thanksgiving will be a little less stressful for you if you have had a little experience with any new recipes. Enjoying a meal and wine in good company is just an added bonus.

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