4 Tips: Create the Perfect Thanksgiving Feast While Maintaining the Holiday Spirit
The secret to a fun Thanksgiving: plan early, list your menu ingredients, shop once and cook ahead of time.
With Thanksgiving Day right around the corner, many of us find ourselves running around like a turkey with our head cut off as the time to prepare a massive meal for family and friends comes closer.
Follow these turkey-time organizing tips, and you can say goodbye to days of several scatterbrained trips to the grocery store and pre-event panic!
Start Planning Early
As in… now! Don’t wait until a day or two before the big day to start planning your menu and hitting the grocery stores; this can really kill the holiday spirit as aisles empty out and checkout lines fill up. Give yourself enough time to calmly consider what you want to serve your party, and how much of it you will need.
One way to get ahead of the game is to do any decorations you may have well in advance; while turkey and deviled eggs need to make last-minute appearances, you can get the candles and cornucopia out days in advance!
Mind Your Menu Minutia
Whether you’ve pulled off dozens of flawless feasts, or this is your first Turkey Day flying solo, we can all use a bit of organization when it comes to our Thanksgiving spread.
Envision your perfect Thanksgiving and walk yourself through every dish you will serve from start to finish. Make sure to cover all your gastronomic bases: appetizers, beverages, salads, sides, mains, and desserts.
Make a list that includes all the dishes to grace your table this year, and then break it down even farther by expanding the list to include the very ingredients for all the recipes you’ll make. Once your master list is complete, compile all like ingredients from all the dishes so you know exactly how much of everything you need. Example: 4 c. flour for pies + 2 c. flour for gravy = 6 c. flour total.
Take the Store by Storm… Once!
Now that you have a comprehensive shopping list of everything you’ll need to pull off your Thanksgiving feast, it’s time to go grocery shopping. If you know your local store well, you can even do yourself the extra favor of organizing your shopping list to start on one side of the store and end on the other; this way you’ll get in and out of there quickly and in one fell swoop!
Get Ahead Where You Can
Take care of any pre-Thanksgiving cooking and baking in the days preceding Thanksgiving. Most desserts can be prepared in advance, as well as many appetizers. If any of your recipes call for the creation of something to be ‘set aside’ until serving time, go ahead and get all of that taken care of early. This will allow you to spend more time schmoozing with family and friends rather than slaving over a hot stove all day.
Pulling off Thanksgiving without a hitch and with a smile on the host’s face is something your whole party will be thankful for. Enjoy, and happy Thanksgiving!