1 Here I am with my special Thanksgiving guests - Matt Lauer, Ann Curry, Natalie Morales, and Al Roker. Credit: Peter Kramer
2 It was, indeed, a very busy day! Before the Today Show arrived, I had already taped a segment for my television show. After taping of the Today Show wrapped, I was also interviewed by USA Today! Three birds with one stone!
3 We recreated the Thanksgiving meal from my new book, a wonderful menu that came about by taking notes all year long and keeping a file of torn out pictures of ideas. At the magazine, we call these tearsheets.
4 Pierre Schaedelin, who worked with me closely and prepared much of the food in the book, came to help in the kitchen. My housekeeper, Laura Acuna, assisted with the holiday decor.
5 Because this was for TV, Pierre had to make two of everything for swap-out purposes. Here he is prepping and cooking the day before the shoot.
6 To recreate this beautiful and savory baked stuffed pumpkin, Pierre searched the markets for flat-shaped cheese pumpkins. It's been a bad season and they were very difficult to find, and finally, he did!
7 Pierre sautéed mushrooms, onions, celery, carrots, and garlic.
8 He combined those ingredients with roasted chestnuts, sweet potato, apples, herbs, eggs, and cubed white bread, a lovely fall assortment of flavors and colors.
9 All the ingredients are blended together right before stuffing and baking the pumpkin. The pumpkin bakes until the flesh is tender, about 1-1/2 to 2 hours. This stuffing, by the way, is vegetarian.
10 For inside the turkey, Pierre also made a flavorful cornbread stuffing.
11 As usual, in my kitchens, nothing is wasted. The vegetable, fruit, and eggshell scraps are set aside as food for the chickens.
12 The Thanksgiving table was set in the brown dining room, just the way it was in the book. MSLO's Ayesha Patel and Kevin Sharkey styled the table with Laura Acuna's help.
13 One of my beautiful Spode turkey platters with a sterling turkey carving set
14 Other platters were set in place and labeled as to what food they would hold.
15 The room was filled with holiday decor, including this gilded cornucopia.
16 Adorable and fun pine cone turkeys
17 And of course, pumpkins and gourds added to the ambiance.
18 I especially like the warty ones.
19 These decorative warty pumpkins have been genetically engineered to look this way.
20 Rather than one large centerpiece, Kevin found gorgeous flowering orchid plants to grace the length of the table.
21 The orchids were repotted in lovely clay pots.
23 The place settings were set directly on the indestructible marble tabletop. We used early flatware and hand-blown, early glassware. The plates are part of a set of early English Staffordshire.
24 My collections of turkeys were placed throughout the house. This grouping sits under a large cake dome in the servery.
25 NBC producer, Minah Kathuria, reviewed the shot list in the kitchen for the cooking demonstration.
26 A citrus and fresh rosemary garnish for the turkey was collected from my greenhouse.
27 Cars began arriving. This 'woody' was rigged with cameras inside so the talent could be filmed while driving.
28 Matt Lauer, who got lost on his way from New York City, finally arrived. Where was his GPS?
29 Matt being wired for sound
30 Al Roker arrived.
31 Matt took some time to review the script.
32 Mary Kahler and Laura Castorino - makeup and hair for Matt, Ann, Al, and Natalie
33 My Kawasaki was also rigged with cameras.
34 Because the Today Show is not scripted, multiple cameras were needed to capture as many reactions as possible.
35 The first shot was set at my stable. Here, Judy Morris says hello to my horse, Sasa.
36 All the horses were very curious with so much company visiting.
37 Ramon felt the need to orate to the guests.
38 I handed out apples.
39 Cameras rolling! The group arrived at my home and met me at the stable. Credit: Peter Kramer
40 I explained to Ann that my horses are Fresians and she was not familiar with the breed.
41 The horses had many snacks that day. Credit: Peter Kramer
42 The next scene was taped at the chicken coop, where Matt and I collected the eggs. Matt did very well reaching under the hens. Credit: Peter Kramer
43 And then it was off to the house in the Kawasaki to begin cooking.