Every year in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving we start frantically planning our menus and wonder how we’re going to get everything done. Think about it – it’s the one day a year for most of us that we turn our kitchen into a restaurant, serving a huge amount of people a huge amount of food and hoping and praying that everything will get to the table at the same time, hot and delicious. It’s a lot to keep track of, and it turns out, even the pros feel the pressure. Bobby Flay may say Thanksgiving is his favorite day of the year, but even he doesn’t cook the entire feast himself. There’s one thing he never makes, and it’s up to his guests to make sure this iconic course makes it to the table.
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It’s dessert! In a recent episode of the podcast Always Hungry, which Flay co-hosts with his daughter Sophie, the Beat Bobby Flay cookbook author revealed that he never makes dessert. It’s just too much work when you’re also making the turkey (Flay says he buys three 30 pound turkeys every year, no matter what) and all of the side dishes (he’s making purple sweet potatoes with maple mustard butter this year, but past favorites include his green chile queso mashed potatoes, cauliflower gratin with goat cheese and honey, and sweet potatoes with chipotle chiles and cotija cheese).
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Instead, Flay assigns desserts to his guests (and he often has literally dozens of people over for Thanksgiving, whether he’s hosting at his New York apartment, one of his restaurants, or at his home in the Hamptons). But rather than telling people “hey you – you have to bring the pumpkin pie,” he’s a little more broad. He’ll ask someone to bring a pumpkin dessert, someone to bring an apple dessert, someone to bring a chocolate dessert – you get the idea. He also emphasized that they don’t need to make the dessert themselves. Not everyone is great at baking, so picking up a pie or a cheesecake from a bakery is totally acceptable.
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Similarly, he’ll also let people bring wine, and he’ll assign red or white, to make sure that the feast doesn’t end up with too many bottles of one or the other.
It just goes to show that on the busiest cooking day of the year, even if you’re a professional chef, there’s something to be said for delegation. This year, maybe take some pressure off by focusing on the savory parts of the Thanksgiving meal and having your guests bring dessert, just like Bobby Flay.
Before you go, check out these Ina Garten-Approved holiday gift ideas:
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