Talking turkey, politics and gratitude — and how to keep everything running smoothly

The Civilist with Steven Petrow
Steven made this pecan pie for Thanksgiving.

Steven Petrow made this pecan pie for Thanksgiving.

Steven Petrow

Last week, my good friend Kim Severson of the New York Times joined me for a holiday episode of The Civilist podcast.

We made a promise: to give you the best advice we have to make your Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or Christmas run smoothly — whether it’s about politics or turkey.

Kim and I tackled a number of “battleground” issues, including:

  • Politics at the table, especially after this brutal election season. With hosts canceling dinners and guests boycotting, this Thanksgiving demands some clear-cut rules. Whether it’s no politics or no name-calling at the dinner table, a host must keep the peace even if no one else in this country can.
  • Where cooks should draw the line at serving friends with picky eating habits. One of us is against catering to “dietary differences,” arguing that cooks are being driven mad by those who think someone’s house is a fancy restaurant and will cater to their every whim.
  • How not to “out” nondrinkers at your table. For starters don’t announce, “I’ve got the perfect ‘mocktail’ for you!” And remember that when a guest says no to a cocktail, no means no.
  • And, how to be a good guest. Hint: It starts with a prompt RSVP and bringing an attitude of gratitude.
  • All that and much more. Including what Kim and I are grateful for this year (we had a surprisingly long list). What are you grateful for this holiday season? 
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