Whether it’s a traditional family feast or a lively get-together with friends, Thanksgiving celebrations are guaranteed to leave guests full of good food and new memories. But with Thanksgiving ranking as the top day for home cooking fires, an unfortunate amount of people may be left with more bad memories than good at the end of the day.
How can you beat the odds this year and have a happy and safe Thanksgiving? By cooking responsibly. According to the NFPA, unattended cooking was the primary cause of Thanksgiving cooking fires, some of which ended fatally. If you are worried you won’t be able to stay in the kitchen all night, here’s a few things you can do:
Make the Kitchen a Gathering Place
When family or friends are visiting, it is easy to feel left out when you are stuck in the kitchen instead of mingling with your guests. To encourage others to keep you company, make the kitchen a gathering place. Put out some spiced nuts or crackers in inviting bowls, pull a few bar stools up to the island, or plan to have a fellow guest assist with the preparations ahead of time so you are certain to be part of the conversations while cooking.
Meal Prep As Much As Possible
By preparing as much of the meal as possible ahead of time, you can minimize the time spent in the kitchen once the big night begins. Many sides taste just as good frozen beforehand and reheated in the oven right before dinner, and often the washing, chopping, and preparing of the ingredients is much lengthier than the actual cooking of them. Preparing ahead gives you the ability to spread the tasks over a few days, rather than have an intense one or two nights getting everything ready while also juggling hosting duties.
Being responsible for an entire feast is hard, but only being responsible for one part is easier. Recruit friends or family members to bring the sides, desserts, or drinks while you focus on the guest of honor: the turkey! Or, if the turkey itself is the most daunting, leave that to your local grocery store and just make the sides yourself. As long as there is a delicious spread when it’s time for dinner, there is a good chance the guests will not care where the food came from as long as they can eat!
Think Outside the Box
Modern Thanksgiving celebrations are all about new twists on the classic holiday meal. Some of these twists are much simpler, from throwing everything in a crock pot the night before to having the whole meal ready after less than two hours in the kitchen. Want the traditional meal but not willing to sacrifice your freedom to mingle? Order the entire spread from a local grocery store! There are many stores and even restaurants that offer the full meal pre-prepared, including dessert. You may even be able to ask your friends to chip in, and you might be surprised at their enthusiastic willingness to help pay for the sides rather than cook and bring their own.
By following these suggestions, we hope you can find a way to have the Thanksgiving celebration of your dreams without compromising the safety of your home or guests. Be sure to review this post if you plan to deep fry your turkey this year and to run through our Fall Safety Checklist before the guests arrive to ensure this holiday is a happy one!