by Lynn Byrne
Well, I have hosted Thanksgiving almost every year of my 22 year old marriage. Yep, I have given birth to about 19 turkey dinners (and right now I am having a Michelle Dugger-mother of 19 kids and counting moment).
So I know a thing or 2 about pulling it off. Here are my top 5 tips, some of which you should get started on right now. I threw in some cute tabletop photos just to keep it interesting.
1. Check your tabletop and serving supplies today! You don’t want to pull out your tablecloth next Wednesday night only to find that it has a huge stain. Been there, done that.
2. Consider party rentals. I always rent my glassware when my guest list exceeds 10. This is a HUGE timesaver when it comes time to clean up. Just dump out the glasses and return to the rental box. No wash, no dry, no fuss, no muss. You need to order rentals asap.
3. Buy a frozen Butterball or Honeysuckle turkey THIS WEEKEND. Ok, I know this is sacrilege in the gourmet world. You are supposed to buy a free range or organic something and brine it etc. Been there and done that too.
Do you want to stand at the oven all day and baste the sucker (and it still may come out dry as bone), or do you want to throw it in the oven, basically forget it until the approximate time the package label tells you it’s ready and enjoy your family and friends? Butterball and Honeysuckle turkeys ALWAYS work-– moist and tasty, even if the gourmets among us beg to differ. 19 tries don’t lie.
Related point. Just don’t forget that a frozen turkey will take several days to defrost. I will buy a 22-23 pounder and put it in my fridge as soon as I get home from the store this weekend. Again the package will tell you how long it will take for your turkey size to defrost. Foolproof.
The Saturday before Thanksgiving, I make a list of my menu items. Then I make a separate list of all of the ingredients–this helps me to get a head start on food shopping. When I get my turkey, I pick up everything else that is nonperishable. Finally, see point 1, you should already have a list of tabletop and serving items you need. I will be sure to buy those items this weekend too.
5. When planning your menu, look for items that can be made, or at least prepped in advance. Over the years I have collected quite a few recipes that I can get ready ahead of time. I am happy to share if you are interested. Just shoot me a comment.
Finally, not really a tip, but still a word to the wise. I know that not everyone can do it but, hosting Thanksgiving is so much more fun if you can take Wednesday off from work to devote to preparations.
Develop the attitude that prep is all part of the fun.
I do. I get in the kitchen, put on my apron and crank up my favorite tunes. A glass of wine doesn’t hurt either.
Photos are linked to their sources.