Jessica Seinfeld's Guide to Surviving Thanksgiving

Though hardly a "can't cook" cook herself,  (she does credit her husband Jerry as the muse for the concept) Jessica Seinfeld has created a new, easy to follow, delicious recipe book The Can't Cook Book, providing the means and motivation to get anyone, no matter how high their self doubt and how creative their excuse, into the kitchen. It's this sense of confidence, plus the cooking chops to back it up, that convinced us to turn to Seinfeld for advice on managing the chaos that can come with preparing your Thanksgiving meal.

header1 "Don't panic," an instruction she gives throughout her book, is also at the forefront of her Thanksgiving guide. Preparation is key, from the grocery shopping lists, cooking schedule, and even the tools you will need. "Organize what pots and pans you might need so you can borrow or buy in advance," she recommends. The same goes for the serving platters and dishes.


Another key factor to surviving your hosting gig? Delegating, especially for the novice host. "Don't be a superhero on your first Thanksgiving," Seinfeld advises. "Ask people for help and assign tasks." In addition to politely requesting others to contribute easy-to-transport dishes like desserts and cranberry sauce, have your guests get involved by assigning them to drink-serving duty or wine patrol. "People love to help, especially when wine or booze is involved," she says. "It makes it more fun."

header3 "Be selective with your seating. Pre-arranged and well-thought-out seating is everything."


"Music choice is key. I spend time thinking about who will be there and what the majority of the group would like to listen to. I then make a carefully selected playlist that people often end up asking me to send them as a great memory of the night."


"Create a signature drink. I like to come up with an interesting seasonal cocktail for the night - these days there are some great books and websites with an emphasis on fun cocktails." (Hint: click here, here, and here for some recent libations featured on Domaine)


"As a host, it's your responsibility to mingle," she says. "I also try to introduce those who do not know each other and give them some good conversation starters. Before guests arrive, I've already thought through it to find their common ground."


"Who doesn't love good lighting? Turn down those dimmers and set a festive mood with candles."

header8 "I love serving family style. It's interactive, fun, and casual. You have to talk to everyone around you and people also tend to eat more when it's in front of them, which is fun." Avoid any lulls by keeping things moving, Seinfeld suggests. "I make sure to serve dessert, coffee, and tea in another area so that people have to get it. It helps to re-energize the party."


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Seagate Handmade Platters, $38, Canvas Organic Free-Range Turkey, From $57, D'Artagnan John Boos & Co.® Maple Edge-Grain Au Jus Cutting Board, $100, Sur la Table
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Digital Instant-Read Thermometer, $20, Sur la Table Linen Napkin, $15, Canvas Gravy Boat, $9, West Elm
_headshot For more inspiration and easy to follow recipes, pick up Jessica's new volume The Can't Cook Book Photographs: 1. John Kernick, 2. Aaron Delesie, 3. Judy Pak 4. Styling: Mandy Kellogg Rye Photo: Rustic White Photography , 5. Brett Stevens from Vogue Living, 6. Lucas Allen, 7. Elizabeth Messina, 8. Amy Wallen, 9.Marcus Nilsson