Here’s an easy-to-use checklist of how to prepare for your Thanksgiving feast. FOUR WEEKS OUT:
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
Coffee cups and saucers
Polished forks, knives and spoons
Clean wine glasses
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
Coffeepot–Can yours make both regular and decaf for a crowd? Maybe you should get a thermos.
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.
You’ll be so caught up that you’ll be looking around for things to do. Have a great Thanksgiving!