Good morning. It’s a bright, chilly day in DC and thoughts are definitely turning to Thanksgiving tables. Last night I participated in a couple of online events that really got my inner-prop-and-food-stylist going.
Here are the results of this morning’s impromptu photo shoot.
Thanksgiving Tables | Vintage Silver Eye Candy
Full disclosure time. I am not the hostess for Thanksgiving in our family. My Mother-in-Law hosts Thanksgiving and I usually host Christmas. We live in the same town, and splitting the duties certainly takes a lot of cooking and prep stress off each others shoulders. However, as I already had those beautiful flowers that are so Thanksgiving, I thought I’d do a mock-up.
A Dry Run is Always a Good Idea
While I’m not the hostess this month, I will be in December and I will do exactly the same thing a week or so before Christmas. Thinking about what you’re serving well in advance of the day and ensuring you have enough flatware, plates, glasses, serving bowls, and serving utensils is crucial. A last minute panic to find the right bowl to put the dressing/stuffing in is no fun at all.
Setting the table a day or two in advance is another stress reliever. It always takes longer than you think, and on the day itself spending time with the family is priority #1. Also, while I’m (obviously) not a professional stylist, I do like my table to look as pretty and inviting as possible. Setting the table ahead of time gives me a chance to play around with different items and decide what’s going where.
Where to start?
It all starts with the menu. What you plan on serving on your Thanksgiving tables determines what you need to use. As you read about a week or so ago, Stuck in the Middle, I’m a fan of keeping it simple.
My household staff are the members of my household and we want to enjoy as much as possible rather than work. The exception to this is my darling Talisker who is always ready and eager to assist with clean-up duties.
Here’s an advance planning list I’ve developed over many years of entertaining:
- Plan the menu
- Make the shopping list
- Determine how long everything will take.
- Do you have enough time and space.
- Trying to simultaneously cook 3 things all needing different temperatures in one oven is not going to work.
- Write a reminder list -i.e. 9:30 am turkey goes in the oven.
- If it can be prepped or made ahead, do it.
- Peel the veggies the night before.
- Make the soup a day or so earlier. Soups almost always taste better the next day. Re-heating is far easier than starting from scratch.
- Get out every single serving dish and utensil you are going to need.
- Are they in storage? Get them out and make sure they don’t have 5 years of tarnish on them.
- I even go as far as putting them on the table, walking around with my menu and leaving a sticky note in each dish so I know exactly what goes where.
- Set the table
What’s on this table?
Based on the items I have in my shop inventory and in the spirit of keeping it simple this is the imaginary menu I came up with this morning. Pretend the bread plate in the photo is 6 o’clock and we’ll work around from there.
- Bread is an essential 🙂 so we have the bread plate, silver butter dish and we’d also need a butter knife. (See, I did this without a list and look I forgot something important!)
- Moving around to 8:00ish, comes soup. I’d go with tradition and have a nice roasted acorn squash soup. Warm and tasty, but served in teacups, so it’s not too filling. Here I’ve set the table with bouillon spoons, but any spoon you want is fine. A soup dish and silver ladle.
- Up near the top of the clock are some essentials for side dishes.
- The vintage silver and cobalt glass salt dishes…a big roast meal is one of the very rare occasions when I would use these for pepper and salt. Usually they hold other things.
- The antique silver gravy boat. Gravy is one of my favorites, I like to cook the meat on a bed of mire-poix and use it as the base for gravy. Yum.
- When my eye alighted on the vintage silver and crystal marmalade set this morning I instantly thought about using it for cranberry sauce! Perfect.
- The antique silver serving bowl and vintage silver Louis XV spoon are destined for the caramelized carrots of my fantasy menu
- No holiday feast would be complete without the main attraction. In this case it would be turkey roasted with apples, oranges and onions on a bed of mire-poix. To carve the bird is a 3 piece carving set.
- If anyone has any room left, we’d finish off with a choice of pumpkin pie or chocolate mousse torte. Beautiful pearl and sterling handled pastry forks and a solid sterling pie server complete the Thanksgiving table.