For Orlando Shipt shopper Sonia Baur’s family, Thanksgiving is a team effort. Sonia hosts about 20 to 25 family members and their guests every year and has been doing so for many years.
A crowd like this means everyone brings a dish, while she takes care of the turkey or ham, plus the mashed potatoes, gravy (recipes below) and stuffing, because “that kind of all goes together.”
“Everyone’s got their own specialties,” Sonia said. “My sister does the pies, and my daughter-in-
law and son bring the green bean casserole.”
With a laugh, Sonia said, “It’s a mad dash at the end, because everybody has to get something in the oven.” So once the turkey and the ham come out to cool and rest, everyone tries to be the first to get to the oven.
Sonia said after dinner they’ll play games, look at photos and visit a nearby water feature, for Christmas card photos. Then they choose names to shop for Christmas, “so everybody doesn’t have a huge burden.”
She said when the children were younger, they’d do arts and crafts like decorating pine cones or making Christmas cookies or scavenger hunts. Even today, they have to celebrate outside because it gets pretty crowded in the house.
The giant feast usually means a lot of relaxing, including watching a movie. Then, everybody takes leftovers home in containers they’ve brought.
With everyone pitching in, the cooking isn’t the toughest part of hosting Thanksgiving. It’s the prep work, like getting the house ready.
“That probably takes more time than anything,” she said with a laugh.
Sonia treasures the recipe book she received from her mom and uses the recipes frequently, including the gravy recipe.
“Recently, my son asked for homemade bread and butter pickles for his birthday,” Sonia said. “I used mom’s recipe.”
Check out Sonia’s mashed potatoes and gravy recipes below. If you end up using it for Thanksgiving, let us know how you liked it!
- 10 lbs boiled and peeled Russet or Idaho potatoes
- 2 8ounce Philadelphia Cream Cheese (Can also use soft cream cheese)
- 2 8oz containers of sour cream
- A stick of butter
- Salt and pepper
- Splash of milk
Peel potatoes and mash together with other ingredients. Should serve at least 10.
Hints: Sonia said it takes about 20 minutes to boil potatoes. After cooling they can be peeled
by hand. She uses a manual masher that was passed down in the family. The finished product
will have lumps.
Gravy recipe (from Sonia’s mom Barbara Jo):
- 1/4 cup meat drippings
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 cups of liquid “I like to use potato whey. I detest plain water.” Milk can work as well; can also
- use stock from giblets
Over low heat stir in 1/4 cup of flour.
Cook with drippings a few minutes very slowly. Add liquid.
Cook and stir until it thickens. Season to taste.
If you need a richer color, add your favorite bottled sauces to liquid.
Depending on the meats being cooked, you may want to combine flour with 1/4 cup of liquid
before adding to drippings. Pour and stir at the same time so the gravy will not lump.
Makes 2 cups
Can double if more people when there’s company, a big turkey, rib roast or a large ham.