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Thanksgiving Planning Tips

Thanksgiving Checklist

Here’s an easy-to-use checklist of how to prepare for your Thanksgiving feast.

FOUR WEEKS OUT:

Make your guest list.
Make your menu.
Order your turkey–especially if you want a fresh one. (Plan on 1 1/4 pounds per person.)
Measure your oven to make sure your turkey will fit.
Invite your guests. (Before you get on the phone, have a list of guests and a list of dishes. Then, if someone offers to bring a dish, accept the offer. And if they don’t offer, ask them.)

THREE WEEKS OUT:

Check your equipment:
Table (one large enough for all your guests)
Chairs for all of your guests

Dish Ware:
Dinner plates
Dessert plates
Coffee cups and saucers

Silverware:
Polished forks, knives and spoons

Glassware:
Water glasses
Clean wine glasses

Linens:
Clean napkins
Tablecloth (large enough to fit your table)

Cooking and serving items:
Roasting pan: Is it the right size for your turkey? Will it fit into your oven? (Don’t laugh: It’s easier to buy the right pan today than it will be on Thanksgiving morning.)
Big-enough bowls, pots and serving platters
Trivets
Bread basket
Sauce boat
Gravy pitcher
Well-sharpened knives
Coffeepot–Can yours make both regular and decaf for a crowd? Maybe you should get a thermos.
Sugar bowl
Cream pitcher

SUGGESTION: If you can afford it, having someone to do the dishes will make an immense difference in your enjoyment of the meal.

TWO WEEKS OUT:

Make a seating chart.
Work on your shopping lists–don’t forget tonic, seltzer and apple cider for the kids.
Begin cooking–relish will keep in the fridge for a week; gravy freezes well.)
Select a wine–Caterers recommend providing a half bottle for each guest–not counting children, of course.

ONE WEEK OUT:

Tidy up the house.
Put clean towels in the bathroom.
Make a final shopping list–Remember ice, cream for the coffee and nuts for nibbling in the living room.

THANKSGIVING WEEK – MONDAY:

Defrost your turkey (if it’s frozen).
Remember that you have to allow 24 hours for every 5 pounds if you’re going to defrost a turkey in the refrigerator. That means a 15-pound turkey will take three full days, so get started on Monday.

SUGGESTION: If you miss that deadline, you can defrost the bird faster in a sink full of cold water, allowing about half an hour for each pound of turkey and changing the water occasionally. (It will still take 7 1/2 hours for that 15-pounder, so do it after work on Wednesday, then refrigerate it.)

THANKSGIVING WEEK – TUESDAY:

Do your final food shopping.
Make a cooking schedule for Thanksgiving Day.
If guests are invited for 5 P.M., count backward from a 6 P.M. dinner, writing down the time everything goes into the oven or the microwave. Don’t forget the dishes that will have to be reheated.

THANKSGIVING WEEK – WEDNESDAY:

Set the table.
Clear out the coat closet for guest coats.
Clean the guest bathroom. If possible, make it off-limits to the family.
Take the gravy out of the freezer and put it in the refrigerator so it can defrost.

THANKSGIVING DAY:

You’ll be so caught up that you’ll be looking around for things to do. Have a great Thanksgiving!

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