What Does One Do With Unruly Children During Thanksgiving?

Because all advice goes down easier with a drink (even a non-alcoholic one). Especially when it's picked at random from our columnist's extensive collection of community cookbooks.

Dear Pink Lady,

I'm hosting Thanksgiving for the first time at my new condo, and I'm very excited about it. The problem is this: My cousins are coming and bringing their children! Generally I don't have a problem with kids, but these munchkins are holy horrors. Seriously. They get, like, no discipline at all.

I know Thanksgiving is a family holiday, so I can't disinvite the kids, but I also know I'm not allowed to discipline other people's children. My condo not only isn't child-proofed, I have a lot of fragile antique china on display, and I'm terrified one of the little monsters will shatter some. How do I best tell my cousins to keep their kids in hand?

—I Hate My (Small) Relatives

Dear Hater,

The bad news is that you have a two-pronged dilemma. The good news is that one part of it is very easy to solve: Put up your antique china before the kiddies step foot in your abode. Yes, you want to show off your swank new décor to your family, but balance your pride with the amount of upset you'll feel if a valuable piece gets broken. If that pain seems worse, all the china should go in a closet or under the bed or anywhere the toddling wrecking crew can't get to it.

Alas, there is no easy answer for the second part of your dilemma. You are correct in that one cannot generally discipline other's children, even if family often has slightly more leeway in this regard. I would first express your concerns about your lack of child-proofing to your cousins on the off-chance it keeps them home. I would then talk to your other family members about staging an intervention—that is, having everyone collectively keep on an eye on the children so that they don't get into any trouble while you're fixing the turkey.

Finally, I'd suggest bypassing the traditional Thanksgiving pies and serving "Alexander Whips" instead. The recipe states, "When serving this after-dinner drink, dessert should be eliminated," and the last thing you want is out-of-control little ones hopped up on sugar. Your other family members will probably thank you.

Cheers,

The Pink Lady

Alexander Whip

1 pint vanilla ice cream

2 jiggers brandy

1 jigger Cointreau

1 jigger Crème de Cacao

Place all ingredients in blender until mixed. Serve immediately in stemmed glasses. Serves 4.

This week's recipe is from The Pear Tree (Junior League of Knoxville, 1977).

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