Posted by: mariabro | November 25, 2011

Just put the f****ng turkey in the oven!

It’s Thanksgiving and Christmas is just around the corner.  So, you may be stressing out about entertaining for the holidays.  As someone who loves entertaining but doesn’t like cooking, I can empathize.  And here’s my advice.  In the words of chef Tante Marie, “Just put the turkey in the f****ng oven”.

This is my kind of cooking.  And also my advice to hosts around the world.

From the Huffington Post – For 40 years, San Francisco’s Mary Risley has been teaching the culinary arts at her own Tante Marie’s cooking school and feeding the hungry at her volunteer organization, Food Runners. But soon, she may be best remembered for that one sentence.

For Risley, the truth is in the turkey. “In 40 years of being a culinary professional, I’ve seen people try everything with a turkey, it’s still never any good. It’s just turkey. It tastes like cardboard.”

And she knows what she’s talking about. In her four decades at the stove, Risley has penned a cookbook, been named Bon Appetit’s Cooking Teacher of the Year and received the James Beard Humanitarian of the Year Award.

In the video Risley shows us a foolproof way to cook a turkey with little effort and urges viewers to abandon the quest for perfection, focusing instead on the important things like gravy, cranberry sauce and wine selection. (Our kind of girl.) She also makes sure to highlight her most important message: enjoy the time with your friends and family.

When we have home parties my husband worries about the food and I worry about the “A”‘s…Alcohol (as in do we have a bottle of wine and tequila for each and every guest) and the Ambiance.  For me the music, lighting and drinks are some of the most important factors in a successful party.

BUT the number one factor in a memorable party is that the hosts have fun.  Your guests will take the cue from you.  If you are anxious, in the kitchen cooking, perhaps cleaning before, during and after, and checking your watch, chances are your guests will not overstay their welcome, or want to come back for another round.  Perfection is an ideal, not a reality, because to have a perfect meal means that you spent way too much time and energy on the food and not enough on your friends.  Prepare ahead of time.  Cater if you want.  Then sit back, have a glass of wine BEFORE everyone arrives and chill out.  Make a playlist that starts off with some smooth jazz, then works up to some energetic party-starting tunes.  Have lots of candles and turn down the lights.  And don’t worry if the dishes are in the dishwasher before the guests leave.  I never clean while hosting a party.  And I don’t offer coffee at 11:00pm.  I’d rather wake up to 100 dirty wine glasses and perhaps a few overnight visitors than a tidy kitchen.

Having a group activity such as karaoke or hot tubbing usually works well, after a few libations.  However, I do not recommend karaoke WHILE hot tubbing unless you have a very sophisticated, waterproof system.

And the last factor in judging whether a party is a success?  Do the police arrive and warn you (politely) to keep it down.  Happy Holidays to all my friends!!

Dancing on the bar is allowed

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