Thanksgiving is only a couple of weeks away, can you believe it? It’s been a few years since I’ve had to host dinner, but this year is my turn and I’m a little out of practice.
I stay pretty busy, so I feel like I should get started on it right away. I know cooking is the bulk of the work, it’s hard to do too much about that right now, but there’s plenty of other things you can do to begin to get ready for Thanksgiving ahead of time:
1. Plan the menu - Deciding what to cook isn’t brain surgery, but take some time now to find any needed recipes and solicit special requests from your guests. I like to create a detailed shopping list from the menu I write down. Sometimes I buy all at once, and other times I see what’s on sale and buy as I go. Now’s a good time to see if you have enough staples like butter, flour and sugar already in your pantry.
2. Plan the table - What tablecloth, napkins, plates etc are you going to use? Go ahead and dig them out and wash them if they are stored somewhere. Will you need to borrow chairs? Be the first caller to that friend who always seems to have extra. When we have a lot of people, our table space is limited, so I also mentally assign a serving dish to each menu item and estimate how much space they will use.
3. Make room in the fridge - A couple of weeks before a holiday, I try to cut back on any bulky items from my regular shopping so there will be room to store all the things I’ve prepared. Also, the day of reckoning is here: clean out the refrigerator.
4. Clean the house - If you’re like us, the house doesn’t stay clean long, but now is a good time to straighten a guest room, stay on top of the laundry or vacuum a little-used dining room. If there are any chores you can take care of now, you’ll thank yourself when you don’t have to do them AND cook at the same time.
5. Plan the leftovers - Our dinner guests are family, and I have one brother-in-law who is known for taking leftovers. He’s single and It’s just what he does and everyone plans accordingly and I just factor that into what I cook. He usually arrives with his own set of storage containers, but I try to be prepared with disposable ones that he (or anyone) can use if needed. This is also the time to match those pesky tops with the good storage containers for the food you keep at home for turkey sandwiches on Friday.
I’ve been trying to do a few non food-related tasks each day to get ready for Thanksgiving. However, I have no authority to tell you how to cook ahead of time, I’ve not mastered that part. I will be the one asking you about your fastest macaroni and cheese recipe at 2am on Thanksgiving morning.
However, my storage containers will have their lids.