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April 18, 2014

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Giada De Laurentiis offers Thanksgiving tips; remembering Thanksgiving 50 years ago

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TVT

Giada De Laurentiis and Robin Leach in New York on Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013, for the Food Network’s 20th anniversary.

The Food Network star Giada De Laurentiis, who will soon become the first female celebrity chef in the Caesars Entertainment lineup next year, shared some Thanksgiving Day tips, and it’s not just about making a masterpiece in the oven.

Giada wants your holiday table to be just as impressive for dinner guests. She likes to spoil each of her guests with their own dish for olive oil. At each guest’s place setting, there also is a special place card.

“I have the person’s name on one side,” says Giada, “and on the other side, I have his or her favorite hobby or passion. It’s a great conversation starter, and it guarantees that the night will be full of laughs and lots of fun.”

To make kids feel extra-special at their Thanksgiving table, Giada makes homemade chocolate-covered pretzels covered in sprinkles and then wraps them up with a name tag for each child. Instead of a tablecloth, Giada rolls out butcher paper to give kids a place to draw.

Her other tips and tricks can be found at FoodNetwork.com. And let’s hope her sliced finger, an accident during her live Thanksgiving special this week, recovers fully!

MY FIRST THANKSGIVING

I will never forget my first Thanksgiving in America — exactly 50 years ago! I’d landed in New York the night before as an immigrant from England. I got up early to search for work but found everything was closed back in those days.

At first, the only place open was a Horn and Hardart automat on 42nd Street in New York City. There were only two of us in the place, and for me it was a total novelty to feed nickels into the metal boxes to take out the separate portions of mashed potato, turkey, squash and cranberry — total 20 cents! Very small portions, BTW, so you spent another 20 cents going back for seconds.

Like this year, bad weather had kept the other guy trapped in Manhattan with his morning Thanksgiving Day flight canceled. I remember that he was a sales rep for the voting machine company Shoup in Chicago, and he explained what this then-unknown-to-me Thanksgiving holiday meant.

Later that first afternoon in America, I wandered up to West 42nd Street and found strange stores open selling military surplus, weapons, armaments, guns, knives — even a tank and a cannon — on West 42nd Street. It was such an unusual sight for me that I decided it would be my first story to send back to London from my new home.

This year I’ll be watching the now-traditional Macy’s Day Parade on satellite down in Cabo San Lucas trying to spot our local Cirque du Soleil performers taking part in the amazing festivities.

I join with all of you in saying “Happy Thanksgiving” and am so very thankful for all the blessings I’ve received since that very first Thanksgiving morning half a century ago.

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.

Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.

Follow Sun A&E Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.

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