With air travel more expensive than ever, a lot of city-folk are contemplating “stay-cations” for the holidays and purchasing plane tickets for less traveled weekends. This means starting new traditions and opportunities to cook what you like. Below are three suggestions for having your own modern, inexpensive Thanksgiving.
Ditch the turkey. City apartments are small and when cooking for just you and your partner or your roommates, there is no need for a big bird. Try something new and work with duck. Duck takes a new spin on Thanksgiving and still tastes great (while not taking all day to cook). Duck also works well with sweet fruits so this is a great way to incorporate the tradition of cranberries and to get people to actually eat them. Some other interesting options for the main dish are Sheppard’s Pie, homemade chili, or making the meal a potluck sort of feel if doing dinner with roommates or more than two people.
Sauces are elegant. We all know that mashed potatoes are a must at the Thanksgiving dinner table, (try adding minced onion, butter, cream, along with salt and pepper to make for a rich bowl of studs) and instead of offering one plain gravy, make two. By plating a dark gravy and a light gravy, you’re giving options for the meal making everyone a bit more excited. While we’re on sauces, try whipping up your own whipped cream for the pumpkin pie. Small handmade touches make the store-bought pie that much sweeter.
Don’t forget the decorations. Even if you don’t have a lot of money, there are simple ways to get in the giving mood. Collecting brightly colored fallen leaves is an easy way to decorate the table setting. (Just make sure there are no bugs on them.) The holidays to most means family, bring out some old photos and place them on the counter. If you can’t be with your family, you can at least look at them. Flowers and scented apple pie candles also help spark Thanksgiving memories.
Just because you aren’t going “home” for the holidays doesn’t mean you have to skimp on the meal. We all have different memories and things we like and don’t like about the holidays. Try and incorporate the good and also add your own twists that offer new memories. Even if it is just for one Thanksgiving, make it a Thanksgiving you won’t forget, even if you are on a budget.