Take Control of Thanksgiving, and Enjoy

Thanksgiving dinner is surprisingly simple to make. Most of the feast can be done ahead -- you can relax and enjoy the feast, too.
Countdown Plan

Sure, once upon a time I was afraid of serving a dry, overcooked bird and lumpy gravy. But once I realized how simple the meal actually is (I bought a meat thermometer and a strainer), I seized control of the holiday. I make Thanksgiving dinner every year, and whether it's for two or 12, the work is essentially the same.

5 days before Thanksgiving...

 
4 days before the feast...

  • Shop for food.

3 days before the holiday...

  • Prep food.

Thanksgiving Day...

  • Do very little cooking.
  • Put the turkey in the oven and go for a long walk or take a bubble bath.

A few reasons why I am grateful that I'm in charge of Thanksgiving dinner...

  • When you're in charge, you can have it your way and keep unwanted traditions at bay -- like salad. What's with serving a green salad on Thanksgiving? Can we not have one meal that doesn't come with a salad?
  • Thanksgiving dinner, unlike a dinner party, is served at an approximate time -- when the turkey is done. This is a no-stress situation. If you set out a platter of cheese, veggies, and dip, you can keep the crowds placated for a couple hours.
  • People show up early, and, seeing that you are making some wonderful food, immediately pitch in to help with other tasks, from fetching drinks (one for you, of course!) to setting the table to taking out the trash. Then folks will hang around in the kitchen to chat and keep you company, and in general create a festive, party atmosphere.
  • The hostess gets all the glory and does no dishes. Which would you rather choose? I can't drag my gravy-laden body to the kitchen for cleanup duty after eating seven different dishes. Napping, however, I can manage.

I'm telling you, making this meal is a win-win situation.

Continued on page 2:  Menu for a Relaxed Thanksgiving Feast

 

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