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Thanksgiving Week! Putting It All Together

November 23, 2010

Let’s face it – Thanksgiving isn’t the easiest of holidays, especially if you are cooking. I mean, you have to make a lot of dishes, people are constantly around you putting in their two cents, getting in your way, or giving you a 30 minute monologue on why you shouldn’t brine the turkey. It’s stressful.

But, it doesn’t have to be. As Alton Brown always says, “organization will set you free.” He’s right. Get started early, make sure you have everything planned out, and you will be having an amazing and stress free Thanksgiving dinner.

1. Cook Early – Get as much stuff as you can get done in the days leading up to Thanksgiving. Make your turkey stock, make your cornbread, make the mac n cheese, make the desert, etc. If there is something you can make now and put in the oven later, go ahead and assemble it and get it out of the way. The less you have to do when the whole family is up in your business, the better of you will be.

2. Keep Baking Pans – A lot of your stuff will be going in the oven. Once that turkey is done, keep the oven warm for the sides. Make sure you have enough pans for all your food. Disposable aluminum pans from the grocery store are great and pretty cheap. Buy more than you think you would need. You can never have enough pans during this holiday.

3. Keep Turkey Stock on the stove – Having stock on the stove will help you immensely. If your dressing comes out dry, pour in some stock. Your potatoes too thick? Add some stock. Your turkey came out dry because you didn’t listen to my instructions?!!? (Add some stock). You get the point – it’s a very versatile item to keep around and you’ll be glad you have it. If you don’t have turkey stock, chicken stock, or vegetable stock is fine.

4. Tell everyone to leave. Seriously. Or put snacks in the other room and let them naturally migrate away from the kitchen. The key is that this gives you the space to move around and set everything up, without all the distractions. Food will be out quicker and everyone will be happier. If they don’t leave, then put them to work!

5. Relax. Once you got everything in order, you’ll be just fine. Have a glass of wine and relax. Thanksgiving is about sharing food and stories with your family, so don’t get all bent up if your souffle fell, or your salad greens are soggy. Be thankful for what you have and that you get to share a meal with your family and friends. That’s the most important part – and don’t you forget it!

Once Thanksgiving is done, get all those eager helpers to do the dishes. And then you can pull a Homer Simpson, grab a beer, and watch the game. At least, that’s what I do!

Cheers,

Vivek

(Photo Credits: KononiaDavis, The Simpsons)

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