The week of Thanksgiving is upon us and there is a lot to do. I thought I’d give you all a little pep talk about the big day and a rough timeline to help you focus. (Honestly, I’m not sure how this will help you focus but hopefully you will get a giggle out of my sarcasm!)
At this point you should know how many guests are coming to your house. Is there someone you forgot? Not too late to ask them. Is there someone you want to disinvite? YOU CAN’T DO THAT!!! It is just tacky. (Note to my husband’s mom…See you Thursday, sigh.)
And I guess in this day and age of everyone having a dietary restriction, let your guests know that they should pack their own food because you have enough to do rather than cater to them. Just kidding, work to help them have a good day but don’t ruin it for everyone else! (Okay, that still sounds rude. This is probably why I’m never allowed to host Thanksgiving.)
If you are using your good plates (as you should), make sure you have silverware and settings for all guests. If you have to mix and match, do it so there is an even amount of the good stuff and your everyday plates.
You can also get your linens ironed and start thinking about serving dishes. (If you have guests bringing in food, have a couple spare dishes available in case they don’t have good taste.)
Doing a new recipe you found online? You better test it out first. (Unless it is one of mine!)
Do you have your turkey? You better get one. (Think of buying 1 pound per person.)
If it is frozen, it will take about 24 hours for every 5 pounds of bird!
Buy all of your non-perishable goods NOW!!!! The sales are on at the store so you should be able to get some good deals. Include in this shopping trip your beverages. If you are buying alcohol, make sure you buy a couple of those little airplane bottles for you and your sister in law’s husband to share on the couch. Nothing says Thanksgiving bonding than two “out-laws” spiking their can of Sprite. (Note to Brian: Not that we would ever do this to OUR in-laws!)
Start cleaning the house NOW!!! Plus hide any freaky stuff you don’t want your guests to know about you. Their intentions are good when they are searching your bathroom for some dental floss. But they still won’t be able to make eye contact with you after finding the prescription for Viagra.
Tuesday: You can finish up your shopping today and do some prep work. Chop what you need to chop. Think like you are going to be on a cooking show and have everything measured out. It will also help remind you what you forgot at the store.
I have mixed views on baking early. Some pies get soggy crusts if baked too early but others taste just fine. This is where delegating your menu out to guests is nice. Most people like to bring desserts so you are actually doing them a favor! (I’m very thoughtful like that!!)
Wednesday: Just yell at your spouse for no reason. Apologize immediately afterward. This is just one of two tension releases I can recommend.
Set your table. And if you like, set out place cards so people know where they are sitting. (This is great for control freaks that are avoiding sitting next to the uncle with lactose intolerance!)
Check your turkey. Is it thawed out? You don’t want to worry about a half frozen bird or your crazy aunt might be giving you the bird!
Make an oven timeline so you know temperatures and cooking times. When I waitressed in college I learned a term called PIA (PUT IN AT). Tag your dishes with PIA post-its and it helps keep you organized.
Thanksgiving Day: First off, there is no time for tension reliever number 2 no matter what your husband says!!! (This is another reason to hide stuff from the medicine cabinet if you catch my drift!)
If you are stuffing your turkey, make sure your stuffing is made first. In my husband’s family this is where we have the annual discussion about the difference between stuffing and dressing. EVERY YEAR!!! If I’m lucky gas prices will go up too and we will discuss that during dinner.
Stuff the turkey and get it in the oven per your time schedule.
Get your potatoes done. They heat up nicely if they get a little cold.
As the turkey is cooking you should have some time to take a breath, shower and eat a snack.
Start getting your sides ready for their PIA time and start greeting those guests that forget that they are on Eastern Time when you live in Central Time.
Excuse yourself and check on your bird. Hopefully it is ready to come out soon so you can let it rest under a foil tent while you make some gravy.
Don’t forget about adjusting your temps on the oven for your other dishes so everything gets cooked per your schedule.
Your guests want to help so let them. Have them make drinks, bring food to the dining room and usher them to the table. (Did you notice how a couple people shifted from their preassigned seats? It is okay to give them the stink eye but it would probably be bad manners to ask them to move.)
As you sit down to your table, take a second to admire all the work that you have done. Be thankful for your friends and family (all of them) and the bounty that sits before you.
Happy Thanksgiving, My Dear Readers. I am so thankful for all of you!!