Food Network Stars Share Thanksgiving Entertaining Tips
For Turkey Day, Food Network stars aren't just making masterpieces in the oven; they're also setting an impressive holiday table for dinner guests. With a few tips and tricks from Giada, Ina and Sandra, you can turn your dining room table into one fit for a Thanksgiving celebration.
Giada likes to spoil each of her guests with their own dish for olive oil. At each guest's place setting, there's also a special place card. "I have the person's name on one side," says Giada, "and on the other side I have his or her favorite hobby or passion. It's a great conversation starter and it guarantees that the night will be full of laughs and lots of fun."
To make kids feel extra special at their Thanksgiving table, Giada makes homemade chocolate-covered pretzels covered in sprinkles, and then wraps them up with a nametag for each child. Instead of a tablecloth, Giada rolls out butcher paper to give kids a place to draw on.
"Who says table decor has to be flowers?" asks perennial hostess Ina Garten. Ina does use vases for height, but instead of floral arrangements, fills them with fruit that guests can have for dessert. She also likes table settings that can be pulled together in no time with ingredients from the grocery store, like clementines or pumpkins. Arrange them down the center of the table and add votives for sparkle. "I never use scented candles," she says. "They compete with the flavor of the food and they overpower the aromas."
Sandra Lee likes quick and inexpensive ideas that add something unique to the Thanksgiving table. "A sprig of fresh rosemary adds a nice touch to a folded napkin at each place setting," she says. Little tweaks can be made to your dining room setup to add a holiday twist: Dress dining room chairs with festive table runners and tie the stems of your glassware with a bouquet of fall leaves. For holding flowers, skip expensive vases in favor of a soup terrine. You can even use a freshly baked Bundt cake as a vase for flowers by placing the stems in the center of the cake.