As wonderful as it is to break bread with family and friends, Thanksgiving feasts can be stressful, especially for those who are stuck cooking and cleaning. These hints help keep the holiday hassle to a minimum, letting you feel like a guest at your own table and allowing you to truly celebrate the bounty of the season.
• Make a shopping list well in advance, and buy ingredients that will last early on, such as stuffing mix, chicken broth and nuts.
• Serve a mixture of hot, just-cooked dishes and cold or room temperature fare that can be prepared in advance.
• Plan a meal served in courses. Start with soup, move on to salad or another appetizer, and then turkey and sides. There’s no reason you should cook for two days just to eat dinner in 20 minutes.
• Be specific with friends who are bringing a dish. Tell them what type of pie to bring and how many you need of each. The same goes for wine—Sauvignon Blanc for the oyster appetizer, Pinot Noir for the turkey, or Moscato for the dessert.
• For friends with dietary restrictions, such as gluten allergies or diabetes, invite them to supply their own bread, side dishes or dessert. Also, suggest they have enough to share.
• Instead of a frozen turkey with a pop-up timer, order a tasty heritage-breed turkey from your butcher, farmers’ market or online. Visit your local farmers’ market for seasonal heirloom vegetables as well—and consider growing your own for next year.
• Enlist the noncooks in your family to set the table, load the dishwasher or clean the glassware. There is truth in the adage, “Many hands make light work.”