Thanksgiving Tips & Traditions

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, Chefanie has your plating, decorating, cooking, and baking needs covered. Embrace the season by designing your tablescape with autumnal colors.

Chefanie's Thanksgiving tablescape at her family home in New York.

Last year, Chefanie set the table for her family dinner with cornucopias of assorted flowers in orange and yellow fall hues. To make the table even more festive, she added various pumpkins as centerpieces and placed a little pumpkin soup bowls at everyone's place setting - functional and festive!

Pumpkin soup bowls and other accessories

Chefanie adds napkin rings wrapped with artificial berries and vines. And who could forget Chefanie's signature hand-painted menus. She painted Thanksgiving dishes as well as a Ralph Waldo Emerson quotation around the border pertaining to gratitude: 

“For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.”

The metallic accents of her antique dishes are also a beautiful touch.

Chefanie's hand-painted watercolor menus

Some of Chefanie's seasonal holiday inspired cakes are her Matcha CakeSweet Potato Cake, Cranberry Cake, and Chestnut Maple Cake.

One thing Chefanie says to not shy away from is going out for Thanksgiving Dinner - sometimes it's better to just relax and enjoy your family without the stress of cooking. Her favorite restaurants - Redeye Grill and Brooklyn Diner - serve all of your traditional Thanksgiving foods and desserts and do not disappoint.

Chefanie consulted some tastemakers to share with you their favorite Thanksgiving tips and traditions.

Alexandra Porter, Art Advisor: 

My favorite Thanksgiving tradition is preparing the meal, starting the day before, with my mother and sister and grandmother. I could try to be original, but there's really nothing better than the emulsion of custom and cooking over strong bonds and good smells. My mother makes a brilliant stuffing, and my grandmother's gravy is to die for - my sister and I are still sorting out our gifts :-) My tip would be for everyone to have a part of the meal they're responsible for to help the cooking go faster and so everyone can be a part of the experience.

I have to say, I love Christmas. Since we're lucky enough to travel a lot, there's a narrow window for decorations; I try to get the tree up straight away upon returning from Thanksgiving. It blends one holiday right into the next!

Rachel Dalton, Event Specialist:

Some of my Thanksgiving traditions include making my infamous “turkey” cookies for family and friends. They are simple, delicious, plain cookies in the shape of turkeys, which I top with cinnamon and sugar. Going to a family brunch overlooking the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, then spending the rest of the day with my husband’s family in Connecticut.  They have a tradition of having Chinese food as part of their Thanksgiving dinner, which is a lot of fun! Watching football with my boys while feeling very stuffed :)

Some of my entertaining tips: mini pumpkins and gourds are a fabulous way to decorate your fall table. I like to use place cards to strategically seat my guests. You can put the place cards in small frames which make a great take home gift. Serve each guest a mini scoop of sorbet (mix up the flavors) in between courses to cleanse the palate.

Happy Thanksgiving!