Cooking for a bunch of people for the first (or 30th) time? Don’t be scared. Follow these tips.
If you’re at all close to being a novice, cooking a multicourse dinner for a bunch of beloved people on an important day of togetherness can be terrifying.
More Thanksgiving planning
- The Imperfect Holiday: Your guide to Thanksgiving
- All about the sides: Seattle top chefs share their recipes for Thanksgiving favorites
- My Aunt Edith’s dinner rolls, a no-fuss family favorite
- 5 top tips for fearless holiday cooking
- Bill Hart brings years of piemaking talent to Mount Baker
- Wine picks for your holiday meal
- Planning the Thanksgiving meal: How to get the timing right
- 4 tips for holiday dinner-party ambience
- 6 basic holiday (and everyday) cooking tips
- Holiday-cooking horror stories: 9 lessons we learned the hard way
- This holiday season, skip bartending and serve up punch
- The best for your budget: Wine and beer to bring to your holiday party
- So gross, so good: Thanksgiving dishes we love but shouldn’t
Consider choosing yourself a trusted, obedient sous chef to help you with chopping, dishes, etc. (and note that sometimes a cousin is better than a spouse). They can help you with your mise en place, or getting everything ready for each dish before you start cooking it.
Then don’t forget to taste as you go, and remember that salt, pepper and something acidic (lemon juice, apple cider vinegar) are your friends for correcting taste (start with small amounts). Flat-leaf parsley or other garnish on finished dishes makes it look perfect, even if it’s not.
And have fun: As Julia Child said, “The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking, you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” (And note that she also said, “I enjoy cooking with wine — sometimes I even put it in the food.”)
— Bethany Jean Clement, Seattle Times food writer