Who cooks your Thanksgiving dinner? If you’re a celebrity, the answer is likely Bethenny Frankel. The reality TV personality and Skinnygirl cocktails founder knows what she likes, and these days, most of it is focused on the leftovers.
“My most important tradition is asking friends to host Thanksgiving, but I always make myself a reservation to see if my friends are capable and dependable,” Frankel tells Travel + Leisure. “We roast turkeys and make mashed potatoes, cornbread, and cranberry sauce, not to mention sweet potatoes and rolls. Everything has to be from scratch, and the food has to be extra delicious.”
Photographer Chad Gordon for Viewpoint
Vegan food guru and actress Olivia Wilde relies on her husband Jason Sudeikis, a chef by training, to prepare Thanksgiving meals for their two young daughters. “To keep things comfortable on turkey day, he always preps the turkey ahead of time,” Wilde tells Travel + Leisure. “For the sides, the menus are made by Jason, always keeping a few weeks’ supply of only basic ingredients and fruit. Also, the kids always play in the pots and pans — over a candle. And thank goodness we bought our own turkey from a local butcher.”
Well-known author and therapist Esther Perel shares Thanksgiving with her husband and her husband’s mother. “The day is a day of family. I think my favorite thing about Thanksgiving is that it’s an extra day for real family.”
Actor Matthew Perry reminisces about his mother-in-law, who cooked as a family tradition. “She ran her own catering business, and we all took turns doing the turkey! We cooked our own turkey in batches, so we could have a potluck. And they got to smell our home cooking all the way over there — well past the Thanksgiving dinner table — in the kitchen! “Our thanksgiving meals…were quite incredible,” he says.
TV host Elizabeth Vargas appreciates a different type of cooking at Thanksgiving: something a little more adventurous. “We have a kind of rivalry with our sister-in-law, who is a wonderful chef,” she says. “We always call her, ‘The Potato Queen.’ She turns out potato pancakes with sour cream and buttermilk. It’s a delectable dessert, and she gives us a recipe every year. It’s delicious! It is sweet with a twist.”
Dentist and author Mark Hyman, M.D. says that he and his wife can’t wait to cut into turkey this Thanksgiving, and anticipate the deliciousness of the leftovers. “The Thanksgiving leftovers are the best part of the holiday, and everybody gets to help themselves. That’s our favorite part of the holiday.”
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Actor Michael Keaton recalls when his parents used to prepare the entire holiday meal. “I remember lying in bed all night with my two brothers and my father heating the turkey from scratch, all the way up to the table,” he says. “I’ve been eating these wonderful ‘secret recipes’ since I was a kid.”
Anya Hindmarch explains that she and her husband prefer to spend the meal watching football.
Hotelier Vikram Chatwal lets his wife prepare the food. “We always have a lot of friends over for Thanksgiving. The first day we cook the turkey, we bake a dozen homemade pumpkin pies. Then we have pumpkin pancakes the next day with whipped cream and whipped honey. Then it’s just football.”
Health Correspondent Robert Caruso appreciates the honor of cooking turkey at his parents’ home. “Mom is known for her off-the-wall cooking, making everything from shepherd’s pie to stuffed risotto balls.”
Daytime talk show host Jill Duggar loves the family tradition of doing Thanksgiving dishes together. “People always find their way to the table. The best part is that you never know what is going to be served up next,” she says.
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Singer and actress Sarah Hyland says she cannot wait to give thanks on Thanksgiving. “I love the feeling of gratitude around the table when we’re gathered with friends and family, eating a delicious meal together.”