Roast turkey from The Silver Spoon Classic
Roast turkey from The Silver Spoon Classic

How to host Thanksgiving 2020 socially and safely

From table displays to turkey, tasty cocktails to avoiding family fallouts - our authors have the lowdown on what to do (and what not to do)

We might be a little more socially distant this Thanksgiving, but that’s no reason not to make it special. And if you’ve been doing it the same way for the past few years, you might want to shake things up a little. With that thought firmly in mind, here are some new aesthetic, culinary and social suggestions, courtesy of our authors

The Putnams' tropical Thanksgiving display
The Putnams' tropical Thanksgiving display

Try a tropical spin on the table display, courtesy of Putnam & Putnam The acclaimed flower designers and authors of Flower Color Theory and Flower Color Guide are turning up the heat this November – inspired perhaps by their new LA outpost. They dub this new creation “Thanksgiving in the Tropics”, a tablescape that is “flashy & festive”.

Apple toddy, as featured in Spirited: Cocktails from Around the World
Apple toddy, as featured in Spirited: Cocktails from Around the World

Sip a Spirited apple toddy This fruity, American take on the traditional toddy “using apple brandy and a baked apple,” explains author Adrienne Stillman in our new book, Spirited: Cocktails from Around the World. Care to try one? You’ll need 2 oz (60 ml) of apple brandy; 3/4 oz (22 ml) of demerara syrup; as well as half an apple, a little boiling water and some freshly grated nutmeg. First bake the apple, then combine the brandy, demerara syrup, and some boiling water in a mug. Add the baked apple, and stir to dissolve it, then top up with boiling water. Garnish with grated nutmeg. Like the sound of that? Then try these other hot and potent drinks, here.

A turkey roasted the Silver Spoon way
A turkey roasted the Silver Spoon way

Roast your turkey the Silver Spoon way The Silver Spoon Classic is a luxurious collection of the very best recipes from the world's leading Italian cookbook. It includes plenty of Italian recipes as well as some worldwide favourites that Italian home cooks perhaps do a little better. Here’s what you will need to roast your turkey the Silver Spoon way: nine ounces/250 g shelled fresh chestnuts, boiled for about 45 minutes and drained; 11 ounces/300 g Italian sausages, skinned and crumbled; one 6½-pound/3-kg turkey; 3½ ounces/100 g pancetta, sliced; olive oil, for brushing; salt and freshly ground black pepper; and large lettuce leaves, to serve. 

First peel off the skins and mash the chestnuts. Then preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C/Gas Mark 4. Add the sausages to the chestnuts, season with salt and pepper, and mix well. Spoon the mixture into the cavity of the turkey and sew up the opening. Cover the turkey breast with the pancetta slices, tie with kitchen string, and season with salt and pepper.

Generously brush a roasting pan (tin) with oil, put the turkey into it, and roast in the oven, basting occasionally, for one and a half hours. Remove the pancetta slices, return the turkey to the oven, and roast for another 30 minutes, or until browned, cooked through, and tender. Place the turkey in a warmed serving dish, carve into slices, and serve with the pancetta slices, chestnut stuffing, and lettuce leaves.

Dominique Ansel - photo by Nan Palmero, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Dominique Ansel - photo by Nan Palmero, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Bake Dominique Ansel’s pumpkin pie recipe The world-famous pastry chef and inventor of the Cro-Nut shares his pumpkin pie recipe with Greg and Darin Bresnitz in their new book Snacky Tunes. “For Thanksgiving each year we make hundreds and hundreds of this Extra-Silky Pumpkin Pie,” the chef says in the new book. “It has become a tradition of ours and for our guests to celebrate the holiday together. We triple-strain the pumpkin filling so it becomes silky smooth and custard-like, and it goes perfectly with the gingerbread spiced pie crust with fresh whipped Chantilly on top.” Want to make it? Go here.

Simon Doonan - photo by Joe Gaffney
Simon Doonan - photo by Joe Gaffney

Try to draw valuable life lessons  from family get-togethers, like Simon Doonan outlines in How to Be Yourself In his book, How to be Yourself, the fashion expert, TV personality and writer sees all family contact in gastronomic terms. “Regardless of your background, your family’s various traits and predispositions form a menu—two menus, in fact,” writes Doonan.

“You can pick and choose your entrees and your side dishes from either parent, based on your own needs and circumstances. You have the advantage of being able to see how things played out. You can emulate your mum’s vigorous creativity but recoil from your dad’s grumpy antipathy toward housework. You can cultivate granny’s green thumb or emulate Uncle Vince’s visionary business acumen.

From superficial to profound, the options are extensive. (Like a massive laminated IHOP menu.)I have seen what booze can do to people, so I avoid alcohol. More terrifying still, I have also seen the havoc that can be wrought by wearing pastel-hued stretch velour tracksuits and reacted accordingly. So grab your lorgnette and take a moment to read that family menu. Linger over the descriptions of the main courses and fine wines. And then snap your fingers (metaphorically, because nobody in their right mind does that anymore) for the waiter. Bon appétit!”

Wherever and however you're enjoying your holiday celebrations this week we hope they're happy and healthy.