Happy Thanksgiving to all my AAW readers! I sincerely hope you’re reading this while lounging in sweatpants with a cup of coffee in your hand, taking a much deserved break from the rat race. For those of us lucky enough to spend turkey day with loved ones, the holiday can be a bit of a mixed blessing, as is no surprise. It’s often a time to catch up and enjoy each other, but for those hosting it can also be stressful. I know this first hand. I’ve played host and head chef for my family before and it was… interesting. Here I share a few pieces of wisdom to those supporting the cook or the host. How to be a good partner to the person doing most of the work, hour-by-hour.
Wanna be a superstar in the eyes of your better half? Wake up at a decent hour and make coffee. Bonus points for setting out his/her favorite mug right next to the coffee maker.
Breakfast–the day before Thanksgiving, do a donut or muffin run so that it’s one last thing the cook has to deal with.
Your mother probably means well…but if she’s loitering around the kitchen, peeking over the shoulder of your partner as she begins cooking, they might come to blows. Escort your mom into the living room and distract her.
Negotiate the TV situation among your guests. What football games are important to who? Does anybody care about the Macy’s parade? The person basting the turkey probably doesn’t need to also keep track of where the remote is.
Offer to set out snacks to keep the natives at bay. Maybe this can even be a contribution that is solely yours? Pick up a couple prepared appetizer platters, unwrap, arrange on festive plates if you like, and voila.
It’s officially no longer morning! You can imbibe without judgment! Wheel that bar cart out son, and start serving (responsibly, of course).
Ask your partner if you can help with any chopping, stirring, carving or whipping. Or any last-minute trips to the grocery store for that dreaded, forgotten, crucial item that all cooks have nightmares about–oh you were expecting to have turkey today? My bad.
Set the table. Plan ahead for this task–the day before, ask your other half if there are particular linens/silverware/dishware that he wants you to use. Have it set aside so that you’re not digging around the kitchen as the meal preparations are finalized.
Help get the meal on the table or stay the f*#k out off the way. You know your partner–does she want you to add pepper to the Brussels sprouts or does she not want to see your face until she yells, “Dinner!” Obey, make others obey, and no one will get hurt.
Clean up. For the love of all that is holy, clean up. Clear the table, load the dishwasher, hand wash the big items, sweep the kitchen floor, wipe down the table. Feeling unsure of what you should do? Ask. “Honey, how can I help?”
Even the most social of hosts is likely tapped out by the end of a long day. Propose a walk to your guests to burn off the turkey and get everyone out of the house for an hour so your sweetheart can decompress.
Decide on the evening’s plan of action so that people aren’t milling around, driving each other crazy. Christmas movies? A second helping of pie? A rousing game of charades?
Hand your partner a glass of wine or a cup of tea, and tell him to put his feet up. Tell him you love and appreciate him, that every day he makes you thankful.
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