Julia Child, America’s original celebrity chef, was surprisingly relaxed about that most food-focused of national holidays, Thanksgiving. The author of Mastering the Art of French Cooking didn’t break out complicated recipes like stuffed duck or deconstructed turkey for Turkey Day. As friends and former guests at her Thanksgivings told The New York Times, she was quite down-to-earth as a host. 

Before the meal, she set out Goldfish crackers for folks to munch on, and made what she called “reverse martinis,” consisting of vermouth on the rocks with just a little bit of gin. She rarely used complicated spices, often opting for just salt and pepper, and instead of deconstructing her bird, she usually just popped the whole turkey in the oven. (For the curious cooks out there, she roasted it at 325°F.) For dessert, she served her Aunt Helen’s molasses-and-bourbon-laced pumpkin pie.

Her Thanksgiving advice to novice chefs often boiled down to some version of “relax.” 

A still from Julia Child's Kitchen. Image Credit: Getty Images

“I even heard her tell people that turkey wasn’t meant to be served hot,” a former Child Thanksgiving guest told The New York Times. Hey, if Julia Child says it, it must be true! 

[h/t: The New York Times