The biggest food consumption day of the year is on November 22!
It’s difficult not to become completely consumed with getting everything just right. If you are lucky enough to be this year’s host, the last thing you need on turkey day is to be frazzled. Put away your perfectionist tendencies and enjoy the day, dinner, and your guests by following these simple tips!
Create a plan. Make a guest list, plan the meal, assign dishes for guests to bring, create your shopping list (see below), and finally create an overall checklist of things to do the weeks leading up to the holiday.
Plan a potluck. A potluck can be a great way to share the load, and with just a little planning you can avoid duplicates at your dinner table. Ensure menu variety and head off an all-deviled-egg buffet by assigning food categories to your guests. Don’t be shy — this eliminates the guesswork for them, too. Plus, this allows other people to share in the culinary glory and their specialties might then become new traditions in your home.
Create your Thanksgiving shopping list in advance. Divide it into perishables (eggs, produce, dairy) and nonperishables (spices, canned goods, baking items). Buy the nonperishables in advance, so your last-minute shopping list is reasonable and hopefully you won’t encounter depleted shelves if you try to buy everything at the last minute.
Prepare as much as possible in advance. There are plenty of side dishes, desserts, and breads that can be made ahead of time. Or, simply prep ingredients ahead of time (measure seasonings and store them in labeled bags or containers, cut and store vegetables, toast nuts, make your stock, etc.).
Let your family help. Have the whole family help clean house and put up decorations. Children will gobble up the chance to make place cards, fold napkins, and dress up your holiday table. This will also keep them out of the kitchen while you attend to the food. Ask an early guest or family member to oversee greeting guests and collecting coats. Assign 2-3 individuals to be responsible for clearing the table after the meal.
Serve buffet-style. Serving dinner buffet style saves on both space and cleanup time. Also, with pretty serving bowls and silver utensils, guests can help themselves to seconds whenever they want.
Don’t go overboard. You don’t need 10 different vegetables. Stick with the basic and traditional ones. Create a menu that everyone can eat, so you don’t waste time catering to your guests’ eating habits.
Here’s to a wonderful, delicious, fun-filled Thanksgiving! Just remember to breathe…and ENJOY!