The Non-Cooking Mom’s Guide To Thanksgiving

The kitchen has never been my comfort zone. I have the basics covered, but a long list of ingredients sends me into a panic, my cookbooks barely see the light of day, and I don’t really understand why whisks come in different sizes. Lucky for me, my hubs is a good cook and takes care of dinner most evenings. My lack of ambition in the kitchen wasn’t an issue until last Thanksgiving rolled around. Prior to that point in time, my in-laws always invited us over to their house for Thanksgiving dinner, which was just fine with me. I happily went to their house every year bringing rolls (not homemade, of course), wine and possibly green bean casserole if I was feeling energetic. However, life goes on, siblings move away, and maybe your in-laws will decide to go to Hawaii over Thanksgiving like mine did.

While it’s unlikely that I will ever be a gourmet chef, I’m thankful now for that change of events that made me revise our Thanksgiving routine. If you are a fellow non-cooking mom like myself, here are some tips that got me through my first unassisted Thanksgiving. 

Divide The Responsibilities  

As we discussed splitting up the cooking tasks, my hubs mentioned that he had always wanted to try frying a turkey. I knew I could easily handle some of the sides. I am not a cooking extraordinaire, but there are certain foods I can make with confidence. I agreed to this arrangement without hesitation because the thought of cooking a turkey makes me break out in hives. If you’re not confident in the kitchen, consider making a few foods you know you can tackle and focus on those. 

Keep It Simple

Since last year was my first year doing Thanksgiving on my own, I knew I would have some anxiety about the meal. We decided to keep things simple with just the four of us (myself, husband and two kids) and to plan a stress-free menu. Also, I did not let myself feel guilty about buying parts of the meal and, you shouldn’t either! With my husband on turkey duty and me handling the sides, we chose not to have a homemade pie. Dreading all the extra dish washing? Use disposable plates and don’t sweat it! Keep things simple so you’ll be able to enjoy the day.

Re-think Your Turkey

A perfectly roasted turkey is often the centerpiece of Thanksgiving traditions. But the idea of prepping to cook the perfect turkey is overwhelming, especially for a cooking novice. Frying your turkey, ordering a pre-made turkey to cook at home or one that has been cooked at a restaurant or grocery store ahead of time are all options for the kitchen-challenged. Don’t be afraid to get creative if a non-traditional Thanksgiving dinner is more your style. Whether you choose a Mexican-inspired Thanksgiving dinner, potluck, pizza or even dining out, embrace your alternative holiday meal and start a new tradition. 

What advice would you give a non-cooking mom handling a holiday meal? 

Lauren and her husband Dan live in El Dorado with their two boys (born 2011 and 2014). They have added a goldendoodle, a hedgehog and two cats to their family in recent years and are expecting a daughter to join their crew at the end of 2020! She is an elementary school secretary, a member of the Junior League of Wichita and the Tri-County CASA Board of Directors. Lauren spent much of her childhood in Lawrence, Kansas and moved to El Dorado about ten years ago after her husband graduated from pharmacy school. She gets by on a lot of coffee and loves all the messy, fun, wild and wonderful parts of being a mom.