Martha Stewart might be the ultimate modern-day hostess, but she's not immune to entertaining mishaps. The first time she hosted Thanksgiving, the culinary icon reveals she made the biggest faux pas of all: She burned the turkey. "I started to cry while we drove back to the turkey farm, where luckily one lone 30-pound turkey lay partially frozen in the walk-in freezer, a customer's forgotten order," she told Daily Mail. "I grabbed it [and] rushed home."
Thankfully, she's had a lot of time to perfect Thanksgiving cooking since then—50 years, to be precise—and now, she's sharing the biggest lessons she's learned in the process. In an interview with Star-Telegram, Stewart answers some of the most common Thanksgiving questions to ensure your family's dinner party goes off without a hitch.
How should I seat people around the holiday table?
"If you don't have room for a kids' table (or only one or two children are attending), place little ones between their parents. Separate couples to open up the conversation, unless they're a new pair—rookie guests should never be stranded. Space loved ones with strongly opposed points of view apart, lest a friendly debate escalates into a shouting match. And save the ends for the hosts so they can get up easily."
How do I keep turkey breasts from drying out between carving and serving?
"First off, rest your bird for at least 20 minutes when it comes out of the oven to let the juices redistribute (tent it with foil to keep it warm). Then carve as close to serving time as possible, placing the sliced meat in a shallow dish and spooning a little cooking liquid or stock over it."
What's the best way to defrost a frozen turkey?
"Thawing in the refrigerator is best: Place the turkey (in its unopened wrapper) breast-side up on a rimmed baking sheet, and allow one day for every four pounds. Forgot to start until the morning of? You can cut defrosting time to 30 minutes per pound by placing the turkey breast-side down (again, in its wrapper) in a pot with enough cold water to cover it completely; replace the water every 30 minutes to keep the turkey chilled. As long as you get up early enough—or if your bird is small—you'll still get it to the table in time."