Traditionally Southern: A Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner from the Heart of the South

Text by Ginni Jones | Photography by Steve Roberts



With Thanksgiving sneaking up rather quickly, event planner and designer Angela Mazanti shares her top tips for creating a wonderfully Southern holiday dinner. Set in the charming and historic Hedge Farm in Holly Springs, MS, this Thanksgiving display is a must see! 

The Inspiration: Mazanti took inspiration for this Southern Thanksgiving dinner straight from the charm and history of the beautiful Hedge Farm. “The home’s historical value and beauty are priceless,” she says. “The farmhouse is 175 years old, it has land beyond what the eye can see and is such a treasure just 10 minutes outside of Collierville. It has 12-foot ceilings but still retains that oh-so-cozy feel for a family Thanksgiving dinner.”

The Decor: Inspired by the stunning autumn colors in the dining room of the farmhouse, the decor was a “perfect harmony of elegant, rustic and antique” says Mazanti. “The hostess had the most beautiful brown Spode plates and rustic flatware that wasn’t at all ‘flat.’ They were like little pieces of sculpture that mimic sticks and branches that perfectly complemented the place settings,” she adds.

The Flowers: Mazanti used lots of texture flowers and greenery for the centerpieces. “That is how I see the fall time, crisp leaves mixed with the bounty of harvested vegetables in colors that mimic a sunset as well as a harvest moon,” she explains. For greenery, Mazanti chose a mix of silver dollar eucalyptus, seeded eucalyptus, safari sunset, sunflowers, jumbo red hypericum berries, grevillea, red ti leaves, mokara orchids and orange wax flower. She spruced up the mantel and dessert display with simple magnolia leaves collected from the property, mini white pumpkins and a few silver mercury glass votives and accented the food display in the kitchen with fresh herbs, white mini pumpkins and textured green “apples” from the farm.

The Menu: For this traditional Thanksgiving meal, nothing was left out! Appetizers included assorted crudites with curry dip and a sweet potato bisque soup. Smoked turkey, cornbread dressing, roasted Brussels sprouts with craisins and goat cheese, French-style carrots with balsamic fig glaze and, of course, rolls highlighted the main course. A variety of sweets from Frost Bake Shop including pumpkin cheesecake, pecan pie and pumpkin cake topped with cream cheese frosting rounded out the meal. 

Tips from the Pro:Mazanti says, “I always say this, but it’s because I have learned over the years that hosting holiday meals is sometimes tricky if you are doing all of the cooking and it can sneak up on you and get overwhelming really fast. If you are decorating as well as cooking, plan ahead!! Don’t wait until the day before Thanksgiving to do all of your shopping and decorating. Start shopping a few weeks early and make sure your flatware is polished and you have enough plates, glasses and seating for everyone. Once you decide how you will decorate, do as much of that as you can ahead of time so that you are preparing for your special dinner in ‘bite-size chunks.’ I promise it will make your life and your family’s life a lot less stressful to do it in stages. You don’t want your special holiday memories to be marred by stress and feeling rushed.”

Create your own:
Mazanti suggests, “Don’t miss an opportunity if you have a great kitchen to stage it by creating a bountiful display of Thanksgiving goodies. Combine baskets, your favorite pottery or majolica pieces with lots of herbs, root vegetables, apples, magnolia leaves and even azalea branches. Feel free to mix and match plates, glassware and chairs to create a truly eclectic family holiday, but try keeping everything in a fall color scheme to create a harmonious feel.”