How To Host Your First Thanksgiving
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when thinking about how to host your first Thanksgiving dinner party but grab a glass of wine and relax because last year we did it for the first time and in my humble opinion, it was a success without much stress. Mind you, neither of us had ever made a turkey before so that was probably the scariest part.
GOOD OLD GOOGLE
Thank goodness for Google because it teaches us how to do everything! For the turkey, we looked up an online recipe for a basic idea, added one ingredient Argenis’ mom always uses and then I called up my mom for her step by step tutorial to get a juicy turkey. Two days of marinating so it can soak in all the flavor and about 3 1/2 hours in the oven later and our turkey was more delicious than we could’ve hoped for.
MORO CON GANDULES TWIST
To spice up the traditional Puerto Rican dish of Moro con Gandules (I’m not Puerto Rican, but Argenis is) I added a bit of bacon to give it a surprise crunch. Who doesn’t love bacon?! Not surprisingly, it was all gone by the end of the night.
Ok, so unless you’re from the hood or have hung out in the hood, you probably don’t know what a Nutcracker is. These are alcoholic drinks made up of a blend of hard liquors and fruit juices that are typically sold in large individual plastic cups. Very popular to see people discreetly walking around on the beach selling them for about $10. each. Discreetly because for obvious safety reasons it’s illegal. Argenis learned how to make these bad boys at home and made two large glass pitchers for the night.
Picture on the left (liquor.com) is how they are typically sold in the streets. Picture on the right is just an example of how you can make it at home.
POTLUCK… KIND OF
Besides the turkey and arroz con gandules, we also made pernil and flan. Luckily for us, another very Hispanic tradition is to offer to take a dish to Holiday parties so the rest of the food and a few dessert options (and alcohol, of course) were served thanks to friends and family members who offered to bring different dishes. Plan ahead, of course, so you’re not missing a main dish at your dinner.
No party is complete without some good music so of course we made sure to have a playlist ready for the night. The only thing that was missing was dancing space. Thanks NY apartments! With a full house, we didn’t have space to turn it into a dance floor.
BRING OUT THE CHRISTMAS TREE!
Another tradition I brought along from my childhood is putting up the Christmas tree the weekend before Thanksgiving. Say what you want but Thanksgiving is not the same without a Christmas tree up. Once that weekend comes along, we are full mode Holiday season. So Christmas tree up, a few Fall inspired pieces around the house and a “Thankful, Grateful, Blessed” sign later and we were more than ready to host our first Thanksgiving Dinner party.
And finally, don’t stress. Remember that the special thing about hosting your own Thanksgiving or any other holiday at home it that you get to add your own traditions and style into it. So have fun with it and I’m sure it will turn out just perfect. And if not, you’ll at least have funny stories to laugh about later on.
What are some traditions or dishes that are going to be a must at your Thanksgiving dinner?