Making Thanksgiving dinner at home is always a pleasure for those within shouting distance as wave-upon-wave of marvelous cooking fragrances create anticipation of a wonderful feast. My husband, Chris, loves experiencing this Holiday at home for precisely this reason … and maybe a little football echoing in the distance. Dinner at a restaurant would be less rewarding because the house lacks both that “turkey smell” and the leftovers.
For the home chef, though, Thanksgiving is a multi-course meal demanding an early morning start; a long ingredient check list; and, timing that rivals a rocket launch. I have found it is preferable preparing the feast with my sisters as this not only lightens the load but creates some fun. They are all good cooks, so each tries to bring a new twist to an old favorite.
We have found that serving dinner at 4:00 PM is our best target time for this traditional meal because it allows plenty of time to prepare the meal while sipping wine and catching up during the process. We set the table the day before the feast and assemble the serving dishes and cooking equipment at that same time to reduce the search and pre-cleaning run-around on the big day. It is also helpful to make room in your refrigerator for leftovers. This will greatly reduce frustration on the back-end clean-up stage of the meal.
Since this is a lavender farm and I am a lavender addict, I look for ways to bring lavender into our Thanksgiving experience. I would like to share some simple ways I have found to integrate our lovely fragrance into the celebration.
Here are some simple, tried and true tips to bring lavender to your Thanksgiving table:
Use Herbs de Provence as the seasoning for the turkey and one of the stuffings. I love the William-Sonoma recipe using our own blend of organic Herbs de Provence which includes marjoram, oregano, lavender and thyme. We will share our favorite recipe with you on Thursday.
Place a simple twisted lavender sheaf or loose stems in a pitcher or vase for your centerpiece. It is beautiful and may be kept year round. Its simple yet visually elegant design and shape makes it easy to place elsewhere when the table needs additional space for the many platters and serving dishes.
If you have time, make place cards for your guests so that everyone knows where you would like them to sit. We use our little Lavender Mini-Bouquets with names written on a tag. At the end of the party everyone is able to take this home as a favor. These fragrant place cards are unique and inexpensive to make. Alternatively, we will happily make them for you.
Layer more subtle lavender fragrance in a Lamp Ring Diffuser. When the lamp is illuminated the fragrance intensifies. Using real Essential Oils is a wonderfully subtle way of influencing the mood of your guests. Celebrate, for example, especially puts everyone in a festive mood, while straight lavender can calm everybody down. These scents will enhance, rather than compete, with the meal.
Voila! You have made a memory and, just possibly, you might enjoy the fruits of your own labor. Stay tuned here and on Facebook for more classic Thanksgiving recipes with a lavender twist.