1) Friends: As much as I love to gather 'round the family table for some turkey and stuffing, having a pre-thanksgiving feast is the perfect excuse to gather everyone for some festive food and drink before the year slips away. Those friends from college who have been promising to visit for forever? Consider them there.
2)Decorations: Outdoor cookouts are lovely but I rather prefer the intimacy of sitting down at the table together. Plus, it's a great excuse to play hostess. I broke out my up-cycled candelabra - ugly brass + leaves + gold paint = magic, and even pulled together some real centerpieces, of fall's bounty. A classy version of the cornucopia, if you will, which also featured thirfted items turned fantastic with gold paint.
3)Food: No need to follow the traditional Thanksgiving cuisine, there are plenty of feast favorites to choose from! Jules, the boyfriend, smoked a 16-pound ham to juicy perfection. I was on dessert duty, and a few oven temperature scares later, successfully made a chocolate coconut pecan pie, a pumpkin pie with fresh pumpkin puree, and a smoked peach clafoutis. I know, I know, there is no use in trying to choose. One slice of each please!
Note: Clafoutis is a French custard-like creation which is as foolproof to make as it is delish. I followed Flour Bakery's version and subbed in the peaches, most fruits will do.
4) Collaboration: Let's face it, not even your BFF would dream of arriving empty handed so face these facts from the beginning and enlist the help of your guests. I gave everyone the menu beforehand and the results were out of this world. My friend, Cassandra saw what I didn't - what is a dinner of ham, brussels sprouts and roast veggies without a side of mac & cheese?! Speaking of cheese, our Vermont friends brought down the best dairy creations the state has to offer. Throw some mulled wine into the mix (aka: autumn-in-a-glass), courtesy of Sabrina, a you have yourself a party!