Table Talk: November 19–25
This week: Everything You Need to Crush Thanksgiving This Year
By Claire Porter
Nov 19 2019 at 10 a.m.
Tackle the Turkey
Alright, guys. I’m going to level with you. Thanksgiving is in nine days. That’s just enough time for us procrastinators to get our act together and whip up a meal to remember. Haven’t even started planning? Don’t worry. (I haven’t either.) Here are some easy recipes to help you tackle the entire meal, from bird to booze and every side dish in between.
1. The Bird
Okay, first, the big one. You might still be able to find a local, free-range turkey for the ultimate poultry indulgence, or you can order a smoked turkey from Lost Signal Brewing Co. for extra flavor.
2. The Baste
If you don't go local, your store-bought bird will be just as delicious with these fail-proof tips for a perfect roasted turkey. (If you are reading this the day before Thanksgiving and you don’t have time for all that, there’s still hope! This quick recipe still delivers a juicy, flavorful bird.)
3. The Stuffins
Stuffing, dressing, “that bread dish.” Whatever you call it, this Thanksgiving dressing is the side dish to defeat all side dishes. Savory, warm, meaty, herbaceous—what’s not to love? Personally, I like to rough chop a pear or two and throw it in the mix to add a little fresh acidity, but you do you.
4. The Gluten-less Goods
Catering to guests with gluten-free dietary restrictions doesn’t mean your meal has to be glum. Chef Katie Baker of The Gracious Plate shared a recipe for polenta stuffing that won’t have you missing the bread.
5. The Taters
The days of the monster mash are behind us, so do the potato mash and nail the T-day staple with Chef Robert Stricklin’s classic mashed potato recipe. If you’re feeling fancy, try some of his variations, like leek- and garlic-infused taters.
6. The Hot Dish
I grew up with a thoroughly Midwestern grandma, which means I believe no Thanksgiving spread is complete without some sort of casserole, and this cheesy squash casserole really delivers.
7. The Berries
Canned or crushed, cranberries always roll their way onto the table in some form. Whip up a slightly spicy and fresh-tasting relish, or infuse gin with the ruby red fruit for a few tart cocktails.
8. The Dessert
I love to bake, but I find fruit pies intimidating. The ooze! The bubbles! The moisture! Get all the flavor without all the goopiness with apple cake, a mega-easy apple galette or a super-moist applesauce cake.
9. The Perfect Pie
For the fruit averse (guilty), ain’t nothing wrong with a classic. Give Mom’s Pecan Pie a whirl for that classic Thanksgiving flavor.
10. The Booze
You didn’t think I’d skip the best part, did you? Brace yourself for a day of football, family, parades and at least one inevitable meltdown with a boozy little drink. Might I suggest mulled cider to warm you up?
Beyond the Plate
The saying “You eat with your eyes” rings true, even today, so be sure your tablescape is as luscious as the meal you spent all week preparing. We’ve gathered some tips for setting a wow-worthy Thanksgiving table. (Think of it like cooking: you want layers of textures and colors that appeal to all the senses.) And if you’re in search of even more inspiration, I haven’t been able to take my eyes off Wildly Collective’s unbelievably perfect autumnal Instagram grid.
While you’re setting the scene, take a minute to brush up on Angela Houska’s tips for being a stellar host—the holiday is about gathering, after all. And when it’s all over and you’re ready to raze every reminder of fall to pave the way for your Christmas decorations, dispose of your harvest decor in an easy eco-friendly way.
For the Anti-Host
Hate hosting? Me, too! Just because we refuse to break out the Swiffer in preparation for guests doesn’t mean we have to miss out on a good T-day din-din. Here are all the places you can get a Thanksgiving meal without even turning on the oven:
• Depending on your ability to not overeat, you’ve got two options on gameday: You can don a pair of pants with buttons and zippers and all sorts of belly-restricting properties and go to a restaurant. Or, you can slip on the sweatpants and have the food come to you. We’ve rounded up both options in one handy list. Be sure to get a jump on your plans—some places require pre-ordering.
• Whether you’re hosting out-of-town guests or just want to escape your kitchen for a bit, The Order has a gourmet Thanksgiving buffet with classic dishes and adventurous concoctions alike.
• For the breakfast-minded, Level 2 Steakhouse is serving a Thanksgiving brunch with varied options (where else can you get seafood on Turkey day?), salads, sides and desserts.
• Hemingway’s Blue Water Cafe within Bass Pro Shops also hosts a Thanksgiving buffet all day including carving stations, side dishes, pastas and more.
• In Branson, Outback Steak & Oyster Bar is serving a Thanksgiving dinner special in addition to its full menu.
• Outside of town, Polymath Educational Cafe in Marshfield is hosting a Kindness Dinner on Thanksgiving afternoon, featuring plant-based foods.
• For the procrastinators, I had to include a few non-reservation options in here. No reservations are required for the Thanksgiving buffets at Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen on the Branson Landing and at Shepherds Mill.
Wind it Up Wednesday
Wild Turkey Wednesday tends to dominate Thanksgiving week festivities. (For the uninitiated, it’s the day before Thanksgiving when the kids go out and go buck wild.) Take advantage of the special events happening next week to keep the party going beyond the dinner table:
Go local with your beverage offerings. Mother’s Brewing Co. is having its cellar sale, offering exclusive from-the-vault beers. The most coveted bottles are sure to fly off the shelves, so scoot over there before you’re resigned to buying a case of Coors for your guests.
If your guests are not members of Team Yeast and don’t care for beer, pick up a bottle of wine at Cherry Picker Package x Fare, which is offering 10% off of Thanksgiving wines, pre-selected to pair perfectly with your poultry.
Kick off next week with a Pieluck at Great Escape Beer Works. It’s a potluck, but with pies only. *Swoon* The Great Escape team will be grilling burgers, too.
On Tuesday, take a break from baking with a friendsgiving potluck at Tie & Timber Beer Co. (It’s a great way to put any leftover and extra ingredients to good use.)
Celebrate Wild Turkey Wednesday by doing a little good. Women in Need of the Ozarks is hosting its 16th annual bake sale. Pick up a sweet something and come in clutch at your Thanksgiving celebrations.
As the sun sets on Wednesday, the drink specials pick up. Look for a Wild Turkey drink at over 20 local bars and restaurants, and $1 from each drink special sold benefits Ozarks Food Harvest.
Forgo the bar crowds and rock out to live music from Sequel Dose at Ocean Zen at its first Wild Turkey Wednesday.
For a little whiskey and a little shopping (What? Cooking is stressful, okay!), head to Farmers Park next Wednesday night for Lights and Flights.
If you didn’t get too wild on Wednesday, run up an appetite at the annual downtown Springfield Turkey Trot, the Willard Turkey Trot and Tour de Willard or the Branson Turkey Trot.
Back to Black
I feel like I’ve made my laziness pretty clear over the past few months that we’ve gotten to know each other, but in case I haven’t, I am obviously not the type to get up early to go Black Friday shopping. I will, however, Black Friday eat. Take a page from my book and check out these post-Thanksgiving specials.
• First of all, I know some of you are dying to start celebrating Christmas. You finally get a pass, so go Claus-Crazy at Miracle on Walnut, the holiday pop-up bar at Missouri Spirits.
• Vino Cellars on Republic Road is hosting Black Friday brunch, with mimosas, breakfast and Black Friday wine deals.
• Big Whiskey’s in Nixa is filling you up while also helping you nab a deal with a Black Friday brunch and gift card deals.
• Finally, Lost Signal Brewing Co. is offering Black Friday sales on gear, growlers and more. Pro Tip: If you go in earlier in the week to pick up your smoked turkey, scope out the offerings ahead of time.
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