Ina Garten Answers 25 of Your Burning Thanksgiving Questions


As Thanksgiving draws nearer, we find ourselves wondering with increasing frequency WWID (What Would Ina Do?). Luckily, we have the answers from the Barefoot Contessa herself, as Garten gamely played a few lightning rounds of “This or That,” giving us a glimpse into her savvy genius as she weighed in on some of the holiday’s most divisive debates: What are the best spuds for mashed potatoes? Arranged seating or laissez faire? And, most importantly, can there be too many cooks in the kitchen? “Well it depends on how good cooks they are,” Garten tells InStyle. "But if someone is a good cook and they want to help, I always let them."

While the video may have targeted her holiday preferences, Garten also revealed some of her own idiosyncrasies, like the fact that she’s afraid of anything deep-fried, although that’s not what she says keeps her up at night.

RELATED: Ina Garten Shares Her Top Secrets to a Perfect Thanksgiving Affair

Whether you’re seeking her hosting advice or are simply hungry for more details about the Contessa’s Turkey Day feast, check out the video above.


Okay, everybody has a million questions about Thanksgiving and I'm here to answer them. [MUSIC] Fresh, always. [MUSIC] I actually love brining a turkey, but I do a dry brine. I hate all that water and you don't have room in your refrigerator So I just do a salt, dry brine, put it on the turkey, put it in the refrigerator, and it's fantastic. Deep fried scares me. [LAUGH] Roasted, easy, put it in the oven, set a timer, you're done. Well it's up to you, but I think I'd toss them. I'm not into giblets. [MUSIC] The thing about the Pop-up Turkey Thermometer is when it pops up, it's overdone, so toss it. [MUSIC] I think my worst nightmare is carving the turkey in my party close, so I have to make ahead turkey, you roast the turkey, you carve it, let it sit on the counter and then you put it in the oven with gravy and heat it up Easy. [BLANK_AUDIO] Both. I think everybody wants as much gravy as possible. [BLANK_AUDIO] I actually have always cooked the stuffing outside. It's a savory bread pudding, basically. So I make this bread pudding and the turkey separately. If you put the stuffing in, you have to cook the turkey longer, until the stuffing's cooked,and the turkey's dry. So, separate always. [MUSIC] I usually use Yukon gold because I like the creamy sort of buttery flavor of them. [MUSIC] [LAUGH] How about both? I always make smashed sweet potatoes, and I do some for the kids with marshmallows cuz that's the way they want it. And some for the adults with sauteed apples on top. [MUSIC] Their's always somebody in the family that wants canned cranberries, but it's not me. Make it fresh cause it's really easy to make. [MUSIC] Dinners homemade or store bought? I would say bakery bought something in between. So it was made somebody's home but not yours. Of course. Actually both. I use butter in the pie crust for flavor and I use shortening for the flakiness of it. I think we always think that more complicated must be better but in this case it's not true, simpler is better. The type of pumpkin you buy like a jack-o-lantern is the wrong type. So actually canned is better and it's easier. [MUSIC] Well I think anything's better with vanilla ice cream so definitely ala mode. [LAUGH] I don't believe in lots of appetizers ever but particularly Thanksgiving so maybe Rose Champaign for everybody and some little nibbles like Salted cashews or whatever fresh fig, something like that. I think with Thanksgiving there's enough to do already, so I think wine is real easy, take out the cork, you're ready to go. I actually always serve a buffet because I think then people can go and help themselves to more, and I hate seeing half eaten dishes of food on the table. [MUSIC] I love to mix the two. I'll take a Crate and Barrel plate and an antique China dessert plate and put them together, they look great. [MUSIC] I'm big on arranging the seating because I always put the most talkative people opposite each other, so it makes a really good conversation If the two most talkative people are next to each other, then they talk to each other and everybody else is excluded. So, seating. [LAUGH] I would say, it depends on the kids. If they want to be on their own and they're really young and they think it's fun, it's fine. But I think it's good for them to be part of a conversation. I think it's respectful to your guest to dress up a little bit for thanks giving. Thanks giving is multigenerational so I tend to do old fashioned music like Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennet although Tony Bennet's not old fashioned. Ella Fitzgerald that kind of thing something everybody loves. [MUSIC] [LAUGH] Well, it depends on how good cooks they are. If you have to teach them how to do something, get them out of the kitchen but if somebody's a good cook and I want a help, I always let them help. [MUSIC] I usually hate leftovers, but in this case I love them. I think everybody wants turkey sandwiches the next day. In fact, I make an extra turkey to send home with my guests so they can make sandwiches. So yes, leftovers for Thanksgiving. [BLANK_AUDIO]
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