he's all that

Freddie Prinze Jr. prepares Thanksgiving sides.

Freddie Prinze Jr. & Sarah Michelle Gellar Are A “Straggler House” On Thanksgiving

“We’re a straggler house. For people who don’t have a place to go, we take them in.”

Freddie Prinze Jr. is an actor, podcast host, father of two — Charlotte, 14 and Rocky, 11 — and if you were born somewhere between the early-‘80s and early-‘90s, probably your teenage crush. He could also be your grown-up crush because he has the most alluring of adult skills. “I’m handy in the kitchen,” he tells Romper. “My mom taught me how to cook.” But as happens in so many kitchens, it wasn’t simply a place to make food, but to learn family lore and deepen relationships. “A lot of the conversations I learned about my family, my father, my grandfather, and my uncle, they were all stories in front of a stove top while she was making different meals.”

That melding of food and connection is something Prinze carries with him to this day. “A lot of my memories are connected to the foods I ate that night; that’s how my wife reminds me of who we’re meeting with when I don’t remember who they are.” You could say Prinze is a bit food obsessed… in fact he said so in the title of his 2016 cookbook Back in the Kitchen: 75 Delicious, Real Recipes (& True Stories) from a Food-Obsessed Actor.

So when food company Libby reached out to partner with him for some simple Thanksgiving recipes, it was a natural fit. But even better than the green beans and bacon, sweet beets, and even truffle corn (“You got to be decadent sometimes, right?”), is the fact that the partnership will help bring up to half a million cans of food to those in need. For everyone who likes, shares, comments or on Prinze’s social media pages, @Libbysvegetables, or uses the hashtag #LibbysGivesThanks from now until the end of 2023, Libby’s will donate a can of vegetables to Meals on Wheels America, the national leadership organization supporting community-based programs dedicated to addressing senior hunger and isolation.

“If I can be a part of something like that, that’s really, really cool,” says Prinze. “I’m really hoping we cap out and hit the 500,000 mark.”

Prinze takes on the bulk of the cooking in his house (which is, obviously, also his wife Sarah Michelle Gellar’s house; the two celebrated their 21st wedding anniversary in September), including Thanksgiving, and little brings him more joy than one particular staple.

“Gravy’s like my favorite thing in the world,” he swoons. “That’s the only reason holidays should exist: an excuse to put gravy on something. Making a good gravy… it’s not an art form, but it’s a specialty. And I feel like I’ve mastered gravy and my son will get my back.”

He’s also happy to share his specialty with anyone who wants to come over. “We’re a straggler house,” he explains. “For people who don’t have a place to go, we take them in.” The guest list varies depending on the year, sometimes it’s just the family, but other years it’s more than 20. But while whipping up a feast for a couple dozen folks may seem daunting, Prinze enjoys it.

Prinze and Gellar happily host friends without Thanksgiving plans (with some help from their kids).Jerod Harris/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

“In my early 20s it was stressful. It was a lot of people, and I was new to the game, but I’m 47 now, and Thanksgiving’s easy. And if I need help, I’ve got my kids,” he smiles proudly. “They’re good about that stuff. They’ll help their old man out. I never forced cooking on them, and eventually they came to me and were like, ‘Hey dad, can I help you cook?’ I’d be like, ‘Yeah, of course. Come here.’”

And that’s when he continued another tradition, not tied to any holiday, but just as important and cherished. “And I started sharing stories about their grandfather — the same kind of stories that my mom shared with me.”