A Fall Feast: Friendsgiving

November 5, 2015

While we love the traditional Thanksgiving meal as much as the next gal, our motto is, Why have one celebration when you can have two? The likeminded Gaby Dalkin of What’s Gaby Cooking agrees—in the weeks before Thanksgiving each year, she hosts a lively Friendsgiving dinner, inviting her pals over to eat, drink and enjoy each other’s company. Sounds pretty perfect to us! Keep reading to feast your eyes on Gaby’s delectable dishes and get the skinny on throwing a Friendsgiving of your own.

How should a Friendsgiving meal differ from a traditional Thanksgiving meal?
I tend to keep my Friendsgiving celebration less complicated than Thanksgiving. There are 5 or 6 dishes at my Friendsgiving table, whereas Thanksgiving can be upwards of 10! In terms of atmosphere, I like to jazz up my Friendsgiving setting a bit. I have friends over for a casual dinner every week or so anyway, so it’s really fun to pull out all the stops and make this dinner party a tad more chic.

Who are you inviting to Friendsgiving?
Some old friends from college, new friends from LA and my best friends from the food blogging world. It’s a great mix of people because they all come from different parts of my life, but they all get along so well, it’s like we’ve all known each other for years.

What was your Friendsgiving menu inspiration?
One year I made the same dishes for Friendsgiving and Thanksgiving, and it was so sad because then I didn’t want to eat anything at Thanksgiving dinner. Since then, I mix things up. Lamb is one of those great dishes that feels really fancy, but it’s beyond easy to make. Plus, a rack of lamb just looks gorgeous on the table—it’s Instagram-worthy, which is really what life is all about, right? I never actually serve pumpkin pie—I don’t love it. Instead, I serve something fun like the cake I did here, an epic apple crisp with vanilla bean ice cream or a tarte Tatin. As long as the dessert feels reminiscent of fall, it’s fair game.

What do you handle yourself and what do you delegate?
I’m a control freak so I do most everything myself. Plus, I absolutely love cooking for people and just want my friends to sit back, relax and enjoy the food. (And then they can do all the dishes afterwards.) The one thing I always farm out to someone else is the music. If it were up to me, we’d be listening to T-Swift all day long, so I leave it to someone else in the group to put together the party playlist.playlist.

More from Gaby, including her recipe for the creamiest, dreamiest mashed potatoes ever, right this way