Cook the Same Recipe from Afar
We know how difficult it will be to be apart from our loved ones, as some are high risk, others are far away, and others simply cannot attend or host a large dinner celebration. For that reason and following our tradition of cooking a family dish to go back to our roots, why not cook the same dinner under different households? This way, you will know what others are eating, follow the same process, and somehow be able to feel that connection. You could even go nostalgic and pull out a family recipe, or be intrepid and cook something new that no one in the family has tried before. This is a wonderful idea that will need coordination between all members of the family and a lot of sharing of ideas. Afterwards you could even have a conversation about how these dishes turned out! There is something magical about knowing that every member of the family is having the same dish and to know how it was prepared from the beginning, don't you think?
Host a Backyard Dinner or Thanksgiving Picnic
The CDC, WHO, and other experts recommend ventilating all areas and emphasize that, when gatherings need to happen, the best place is for them to be held in the outdoors where there is plenty of air circulation. That is why, if the weather permits and you have the space for it, how about a dinner on your backyard, patio, or terrace or going out to a park for a picnic Thanksgiving lunch? If you start early you could have more hours to celebrate. Decorations are already there with beautiful fall foliage and, if more are necessary, they can be hung around trees or fences. You could even add to your menu warm drinks and look up fun outdoor recipes, such as deep-fried turkey. Once it gets dark, you could pull out blankets for everyone to cozy on. Lastly, if watching the game is part of your holiday tradition, you could also set up a projector where to watch it. As outdoors lovers, this idea excites us in so many different ways, from the possibilities for the menu, activities for little ones (and adults, too!), and the atmosphere it can add.
Host a Virtual Thanksgiving Dinner
If there is something that these long months of quarantine have taught us is how to go online to do everything. Taking advantage of the many platforms that allow us to go virtual in our gatherings can be a great way to host a virtual Thanksgiving dinner. You could set up a device at each table where everyone can see each other and dine together while following traditions and having a conversation. This way, each loved one can be present while staying safe. Although we know it is not the same, it comes pretty close to the real deal.
We wanted to add a little advice we heard for being able to connect to our loved ones who are not that tech-savvy. Some suggest mailing a tablet (no need for it to be an expensive one, just one that has camera and microphone) that is already set up to be connected with FaceTime, Zoom, Skype, or whichever app/platform you use for online conferences. Before mailing this tablet, be sure to download these apps, create an account for them to log into, and leave it all set up for easy access. Meanwhile, have someone at that household (or you could do it from the outside if in the same city) connect them to their internet and it is ready to go. That way they can simply open the package and charge it if necessary while it already set up to receive video-call. Once the celebration begins, they can simply accept the call, no need to be a pro at connecting!
Serve Individual Portions
As expert suggest avoiding sharing meals or doing dishes that require a lot of transit, another option for Thanksgiving dinner is to serve individual portions for each dish. This way you can avoid passing down the table these dishes or the complicated logistic of sharing forks. We cannot help but to think of the possibilities this idea offers for cooking dinner where, instead of a large bowl of mashed potatoes we can maybe opt for a baked potato for each at the table; or maybe a single-serve pot pie for each. The same goes for dessert where the possibilities are endless. This, for us, is one idea that surely allows for creativity!
Send Dinner to Loved Ones who Cannot Attend
Some loved ones will end up having to stay apart from these small gatherings be it because they chose not to travel, because they are high risk, or for their want to prevent the spreading of the virus. In this case it would be a nice and sensible touch to prepare a Thanksgiving dinner and send it to their home. USPS offers several methods for shipping food! You could also look up a local restaurant that offer Thanksgiving dinner and have that meal delivered at their doorstep. That way you can be supporting local restaurants and keeping your loved ones with a warm full tummy in this day.
Let us know in the comments below what your plans for a safe Thanksgiving are and, please, do not forget to follow expert's recommendations of mask wearing, hygiene, social distancing, and avoiding travels so that we all stay safe!