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Thanksgiving At The Cottage

Posted On: 17.10.06

Thanksgiving At The Cottage

It's just around the corner - savoury dishes, pumpkin, autumn leaves, family time - Thanksgiving is a special time of year. If you're thinking of entertaining at the cottage, here are 5 helpful pointers to make your celebration relaxing and enjoyable. Tips provided by writer Sara Laux, for Cottage Life.

Credits: Cottage Life, Writer Sara Laux

Do as much ahead of time as possible

Most popular side Thanksgiving side dishes — squash, pumpkin soup, dinner rolls, pie crust, even cheesecake — can be frozen in advance and simply reheated. Others, like stuffing, can be prepped and assembled a couple of days ahead of time, then popped in the oven or microwave on the day itself. Invest in a big cooler, and you’ll have Thanksgiving dinner mostly ready before you even hit the road.  

Pack wisely

If you’re going to take serving and cooking dishes up with you, label each one with a sticky note before packing it so you know exactly where everything’s going on the big day. Do the same with the necessary serving utensils. Also, don’t forget Tupperware and Ziplocs so you can cart home the leftovers.

Keep it simple

No one — seriously, no one — is going to care that your carrots weren’t glazed with maple-bacon-caramelized shallot sauce as they roasted. Likewise, unless you’ve done it successfully before, closing-up weekend is not the time to attempt deep-frying your turkey. Cook a turkey breast, rather than a whole turkey. Make one pie, rather than three. Better yet, stop at that great small-town bakery you keep meaning to visit and get a pie there. The less food you have to stress about, the more you’ll enjoy the long weekend.

Keep everyone occupied

Cottage kitchens [can be] are notoriously tiny. If yours is cramped and people are getting underfoot [and under your skin], figure out something that will get everyone out of your hair while you work. Send folks on a hike to gather pine cones for a table setting. Set up a board game tournament on the dock or deck. If it’s raining, ask kids to draw placemats for everyone illustrating something they could be thankful for. Or find a special movie and save it for that crunch time when everything needs your attention, all at the same time. If you would like people to help out, draw up a specific list of who-does-what chores and instructions so you’re not bugged by questions.


Try, if you can, to take a mental step backwards and enjoy the weekend. After all, you’ve got your loved ones together, people are having a good time [or at least better time than you think], and you’re at the cottage. No one’s going to care that you got the cranberry sauce out of a can because they’re all too busy chasing after crayfish down at the dock. And that store-bought pie? It tastes pretty darn awesome when you bundle up, carry it out onto the deck, and eat it while watching the first stars come out. So let go a little, and savour the really important things.

Happy Thanksgiving from the team at CottageClub, Ghost Lake!

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