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Local chef Sarah Mandell says Thanksgiving sides, like mashed potatoes, gravy and stuffing, can steal the turkey’s spotlight. Chef Mandell, owner of catering company Flourish: Food To Thrive On, spoke with Morning Edition host and reporter Molly Dove about her take on Thanksgiving.
To make the classic meal healthier, Chef Mandell said to take a “cook from scratch approach” and use organic, high-end ingredients for the strongest flavors. She said yes, even butter is healthier than some other options when cooking.
“My philosophy is go back to tradition. What’s been around for a long time? So, yes, I use butter, but it’s grass-fed butter,” Chef Mandell said.
What if cooking from scratch for the whole family feels intimidating? Chef Mandell said to keep it simple.
“Stay within your comfort zone, don’t get overwhelmed and just go with the basics,” she said.
One way to stay stress-free on Thanksgiving is to prepare as much food ahead of time as possible. Potatoes, cranberry sauces, stuffing and desserts can be made a day or two ahead of time. Then on the holiday, all that needs to be done is cooking the turkey and gravy and heating everything in the oven.
Chef Mandell said the beautiful thing about Thanksgiving is bringing people together through food. She said a great way to spend time with friends and family is by inviting them into the kitchen to help.
But she said the best time is when everyone sits down to eat.