entertainingFood & Drinkholidays

a rustic & collaborative thanksgiving

by Kate Pruitt

While it was once customary for the host or hostess to prepare the entire Thanksgiving feast themselves, these days, it’s far more common for everyone to chip in by bringing a dish to share or helping set the scene. Thanksgiving is only a week away, and if you need a bit of inspiration for the day, look no further than this lovely collaborative effort between Jeni Maus of Found and her very talented group of friends.

From the flatware and linens to the flowers and food, Jeni and her friends decided to repurpose found pieces and source local ingredients for a simple yet elegant Thanksgiving spread. If you’re feeling stressed about the impending duties of the day, consider paring down and calling for reinforcements. While you may not have florists, chefs and stylists at your table, as is the case here, a day of crafts and cooking will build everyone’s appetite and make the celebration all the more special :) Thanks so much for sharing, Jeni! — Kate

{Update: We’ve added recipes for the apple butter and stuffing griddle cakes from the event after the jump! Click on the links to download.}

This year, we wanted to create new traditions around our Thanksgiving table: a simple, sophisticated, clean version of classic Americana. The decor was pared down, purposeful and sustainable. We worked with our hands, made things at home and added some meaning back to our celebration of this quintessential American holiday.

Everyone brought something unique to the table: A repurposed linen runner, pies made from scratch and vintage china added warmth and personality. Setting the table wasn’t a task accomplished behind the scenes. We collaborated to create the space together. Our celebration didn’t consist only of turkey, stuffing and obligation, but was about the process of making the holiday our own. — Jeni Maus


Carondelet House: location
Braedon Flynn: photography
J and R Foods: food and menu design
Honey and Poppies: flowers
Found: furniture and decor
Casa de Perrin: tabletop decor and food styling
Pitbulls and Posies: paper goods
Dovetail: coordination

See more beautiful photos from this event after the jump!


  • Rolls and Homemade Apple Butter
  • Roasted Stuffed Turkey with Spinach
  • Cranberry Ginger Relish
  • Gravy
  • Garlic Mashed Potatoes
  • Sweet Potato and Yam Galette
  • Brussels Sprouts with Bacon
  • Slow-Roasted Five-Spice Carrots
  • Butterscotch Pumpkin Pie
  • Apple Pie
  • Ginger Bundt Cake with Brown Sugar Glaze
  • Thanksgiving Stuffing Griddle Cakes

The florals include dahlias and coppery roses (called Combo), along with a variety of autumnal accents, such as berries, crabapples, coleus, sweet potato vine and some foraged foliage and plum branches.


Pitbulls and Posies created paper goods inspired by deconstructed quilt pieces. They were constructed from chipboard with lasercut details.

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  • This is stunning. That venue is gorgeous and absolutely perfect for Thanksgiving. My birthday is coming up and I’ve been hunting for the perfect cozy feeling space to have it—wish I could transport my party there! Awesome and inspiring post.

  • I really enjoyed looking through all the images! I loved their whole philosophy about the meal this year and it went perfectly with the decor/settings they used. Lovely

  • This is a great article. I have given my dining room a rustic feel with oak console tables and dining tables. its all about mixing and matching materials and fabrics.

  • Love the menu. Any chance we might see the recipes, say, for the Brussels sprouts, carrot, cranberry, and bundt cake? They sound delicious

  • This is really close to what my friends and I do! We have “afterthought” holiday parties, where everyone brings a dish, very potluck style, and we take whatever plates and cutlery and servingware we have. We are Canadian, so we do American Thanksgiving as friends, because we all go home for ours. And we also do Ukranian Christmas after the holidays, because that time is spent at home with our other loved ones. All these gatherings feel so warm and inviting because everyone contributed something to the night. And then we push the tables aside and dance it out!

  • Gorgeous – LOVE the food!! Sometimes it is can be helpful to get 1 or 2 items catered to help ease the work and hassel. I wonder if J and R Foods does this?

  • this is simply beautiful…makes me want to rethink my plans for Thanksgiving and do more simplicity..maybe my Christmas table will take the inspiration from this setting..thanks for the beauty and creativity…most lovely

  • Everything is lovely! However, I always get a slightly creepy feeling when everyone in a Thanksgiving party photo is the same age…

  • love the inherent beauty of a collective table – the mismatched chairs and serving ware, the food and the flowers. Just like the collection of friends – all different, but so good together

  • Cater any part of Thanksgiving, Debi? That sounds practically sacrilegious, especially after such a lovely post about a coming together of friends and food. Plan ahead to lower the stress, or ask for help, but cater? How awful.

    • Jacquie,

      I have to step in say that calling Debi’s advice sacrilegious and awful is out of line. It’s true that this post celebrates collaboration and pulling things together from scratch, but that’s not the only acceptable way to celebrate Thanksgiving. The holiday is not really about where the food comes from, it’s about what it means to you and the people you choose to celebrate with. People are allowed to carry on traditions in their own ways. Let’s be mindful of that!


  • As a nosy Brit eavesdropping on your Thanksgiving may I offer the advice given fifty years ago by Elizabeth David about cooking Turkey? After cooking a huge turkey on the day, resting it for thirty minutes while you race to get the veg cooked, carving it and passing it down the table it will never be piping hot. If you’re lucky it will be warm. Why not cook it the night before and carve it cool? This frees up your oven space on the day and guarantees that the bird is cooked. All she says is that you must have piping hot gravy. This simple hint has revolutionised our Christmas- no more stabbing through the thigh and seeing blood ooze out as friends finish their starters

  • Beautiful post. Thanks for the tip, Peter. And I agree with Ang. Where are the parents? Grandparents? Children? Cousins? They probably also celebrated with family…This looks like a party for friends. What are we thankful for, anyway? And who are we thanking? Has Thanksgiving become just another excuse to party? Can’t help these thoughts coming this time of year…Where is the deep meaning?

  • For the people wondering where the other age groups are, I have this to say: What if you can’t go home? People move away from home for work all the time, and sometimes you can’t get home for the holidays. So your friends can become your surrogate family, and there shouldn’t be anything wrong with that. We should only be thinking about being thankful for those we care about, whether they be friends or family.

  • If anyone is looking for any additional recipes from this menu, feel free to email us at jandrfoods@gmail.com. We would be happy to provide you with them. Fair warning, the turkey is pretty labor intensive.

  • I am inspired by the setting, the flowers and the menu sounds divine. I love it. It doesn’t matter whether it is friends or family not everyone can be with family on Thanksgiving. I agree friends are family for many people. As long as you celebrate it with those that you love and you are thankful for all your blessings that is all that really matters.

  • I love this rustic and laidback table setting. Definitely putting the fun back into entertaining. Makes me think it’s time to invite some friend over!

  • Stunning photographs, and great table! I’m your newest fan! Love the outdoor chandeliers and mismatched chairs, and flatware. Lovely. ~CJ