@granny squares The whole show. Alton Brown's turkey plus homemade cranberry sauce and all the sides you'd expect to see. Pecan pie and pumpkin pie with ice cream and homemade whipped cream (bourbon-infused?)for dessert.
It's also not Thanksgiving without banana fritters and claret sauce, for some reason, so those, too.
Yes to all the advice to make things ahead of time. I'm making the pies, the cranberry sauce, and the squash tonight and getting as far as I can with the prep work for everything else.
On a more philosophical level, I think you will impress your guests more as a calm and confident host that by making any fancy, stress-inducing dishes. Given that...
KNOW THY AUDIENCE. If your guests are looking for traditional dishes, don't knock yourself out coming up with something overly complicated or creative. Presenting a solid version of a classic dish will win them over just as well. And if they actually look forward to the easy version of something, like canned cranberry sauce? Don't waste your energy making it.
KNOW THYSELF. Hate baking but love making drinks? Everyone else brings the pies and impress them with a signature cocktail. It's fine.
KNOW THY BATTLEGROUND Tiny apartment oven? See if the turkey actually fits. (uh, not that this happened to me...) (although, seriously, just hack the legs off and roast them separately, it's fine) Use all your appliances to their advantages.
@Tuna Surprise Such a nice idea! I actually just did a quick search for book recommendations, because I don't know what 8-year-old boys read, and they were all over the place as far as reading level.
You could do a book plus a related craft kit. Like, Stuart Little and a kit to make a toy boat?
If you're totally stuck, you could do a book/DVD combo. I did that with Ramona for an 8-year-old girl.
@SmartCookie Yup, a few. Knitting, mostly hats and such for friend's kids. No huge timesucking projects planned, so I'm feeling like I got this.
If you're already gagging, don't look at the pictures. The toe cheese. The toe cheese.
Anyone else wonder if there's a Wayside School angle to it? Just me?
@adorable-eggplant 1,000 internet points to you
"Boy, you must be a sweater because you are one that sweats, especially profusely."
"Boy, you must be a robot because you are a person who works mechanically without original thought, especially one who responds automatically to the commands of others."
"Boy, you must be a fiasco because you are a complete failure."
@camanda If I'm understanding the layout correctly, his alternative was to do...whatever nature asked him to do...behind a screen? In a room that the owners could possibly freely walk into at any time? If that's the case, I probably would have gone in search of a private bathroom as well. Of course, if anyone was around, I would have checked to be polite.
But I can sympathize. In one apartment, I used to joke that my only sign that maintenance had come by (unannounced) was that I would come home from work to find the toilet seat up. *tiny screams*
@Hellcat Yessssssss. Themed party thoughts, anyone? I'll bring the powdered donuts.