For the past few years, Mandy Moore has done away with the concept of a traditional Thanksgiving and has adopted more of a Friendsgiving approach to the holiday. “We’ve sort of bucked the tradition,” she tells Yahoo Lifestyle during an American Express Friendsgiving lunch at The Eveleigh in West Hollywood on Thursday afternoon.
“Family is there but it’s a lot of friends as well,” she says. “It’s a potluck and it’s casual and we all sort of sit around. It ebbs and flows. People come at the beginning of the celebration for a drink and leave and go have dinner somewhere else and come back and have pie again. It’s so much fun.”
While she’s got the being a guest thing down, the recently engaged star is taking a big chance with this year’s festivities. She’s not only co-hosting for the first time but is doing it at the home of her future in-laws. “My mother-in-law is going to be doing the brunt of the work,” she reveals. But the real plan, according to Moore, is to shadow her fiancé’s mom in the kitchen so that she can take over next Thanksgiving. “I feel like this is the possible entrée in hosting duties,” says Moore. “I told her, ‘next year you don’t have to worry about anything.’ I’ll give her a little leeway, a little time to digest that.”
The This is Us actress is very much looking forward to cooking alongside Mrs. Goldsmith. “She’s the best and I love her so much,” she tells us. As for the big day, Moore will likely be making her favorites. “I like to do some sort of Brussels sprout situation,” she reveals. “Last year I did a raw Brussels sprout salad that was pretty popular.” And since she’s gluten intolerant, the actress makes it a point to contribute to the dessert table. “I have this Paleo pumpkin pie that I’ve made the last couple of years that’s by one of my favorite food bloggers. It’s made with almond flour as a substitute and it’s excellent,” she says.
One friend who has yet to make the annual bash is Moore’s good pal Minka Kelly. And that’s okay with the 33-year-old, as she isn’t quite ready to battle it out in the kitchen. “I would definitely leave any and all cooking to her if she came,” Moore reveals, noting that she has often been a taste tester for her culinary school graduate friend and would sign on for that role again and again. “She’s an actual chef. She knows what she’s doing in the kitchen. I can follow a recipe but she has taken it to a whole other level.”
Moore and Goldsmith have yet to move into their new home but Moore admits that the original plan was to have Friendsgiving in their new kitchen. “I was so excited this year. I was full-on ready to do the turkey and take on all of the responsibility and now we are just barely missing getting into the house for the holidays,” she says. For now, however, the couple is enjoying the simplicity of eating out “a lot.”
But she’s happy to be stepping up her duties for this year’s soirée and plans to dress to impress for the upcoming occasion. “I feel like there is a less formal component to it but I think you want to still feel polished but elevated and comfortable,” she says, of her Friendsgiving style. “I think it’s a step up from my everyday attire of jeans and a T-shirt and a heel. I want to feel comfortable and relaxed and if I have to get my hands dirty, I can do that, but I still want to feel put together.” Her go-to look for the holiday is an easygoing long sleeve fall inspired dress. “That was my go-to the last couple of years,” says Moore. “And cute flats. So I can run around,” she says, noting that the home will be filled with dogs and babies and other adorable obstacles. “We’ll have our hands full!”
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