There's no special recipe or single ingredient that will ever make the perfect holiday in the kitchen.
But Scott Macaulay gets here early to at least try every year.
"I'm getting old, see! I'm getting old," he said.
But he's never grown tired of his Thanksgiving tradition in Melrose. It's a tradition that started after he found himself with nowhere to go on a Thanksgiving three decades ago.
"I put an ad in the local paper and said I'd cook Thanksgiving dinner for anyone who might find themselves for some reason alone and people actually called me up," Macaulay said.
When NBC10 first visited Macaulay's event three years ago, he had a few dozen people show up. This year, he had more than 80 people RSVP.
Some who showed up had been before, while others were joining Macaulay's event for the first time. But everyone always finds a seat at the table if they need it.
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"It's comforting to know that someone cared whether I was alone or not."
Macaulay can't say exactly what it is that makes this work, but a meal that can turn strangers into friends, might just be the perfect recipe for the holidays.
"I can't fix the whole world. I can't fix the whole country. I can't fix the town either, but hopefully the people that come here today will leave smiling," Macaulay said.