I used to date a gentleman whose family had Thanksgiving down to a SCIENCE.
There were spreadsheets and schedules and so much organization involved, it was so impressive! Rendered me almost completely moot for the handful of Thanksgivings we were together…which made me kind of sad.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, even more than Christmas.
I do have a process I like to go through, but it’s not as exact as my ex’s super-organized family.
How I do Thanksgiving planning:
- I stock up on Thanksgiving magazines, and pore over them like I did with Seventeen and Lucky magazines when I was in high school. I spread them out all over the floor and start to organize.
- I dogear the pages of everything that looks good, and then go back through them with pink post it notes to mark the dishes that are “viable”. (i.e. if I need 2 ovens simultaneously, it’s not happening. Ditto with deep-fried turkey and anything sous vide.)
- I whittle down the pink post-its to 3-4 sides, 2-3 pies and a turkey recipe. Potatoes are a given, two different types (see menu below).
- I take a nice clean sheet of paper and write out a list of the dishes, including the magazine and issue (or website, or cookbook) where I can find the recipe and the amount of oven time it will take (and if it needs to rest after cooking).
- Then I make my shopping list. I’ll go through, recipe by recipe, and write out each ingredient on a piece of paper, adding everything up.
- I’ll pull out the serving pieces and put a sticky note on each one with the name of the dish they’ll hold.
I would go over my shopping method, but it’s kind of willy nilly and depends on who has the best price on a good brand of turkey, to be perfectly frank.
Menu for Thanksgiving, 2017
- Turkey. I’ve tried multiple recipes over the years for turkey. I’ve had two turkeys I didn’t know needed to be thawed before cooking. I’ve burned the crap out of at least one turkey. My favorite is a classic dry brined, oven roasted bird – trying this recipe this year!
- Rolls. My momma makes her world famous homemade crescent rolls, and this year I’m going to try Parker House Rolls as well. We do love our carbs.
- Stuffing. This is made in a traditional way, with very few variations. I tried making my own cornbread one year for a new kind of stuffing and was informed I should never do that again because it’s not the same. We cook half of it in the turkey and half of it in the same dish my mother has used since the 70s.
- Potatoes. Two kinds, never varies except the one year I tried Hasselbeck potatoes and nearly had a riot on my hands. I make my mashed potatoes, where I add cream cheese and sometimes a bit of heavy cream and Maldon (always, NEVER TABLE SALT) and sometimes a little bit of rosemary and just whip all of it together. The second potato is (at least) one casserole dish of “Grandma’s Potatoes”, from my maternal grandmother. Cornflakes on the top, sour cream in the base. It’s delicious.
- Brussels Sprouts. My whole family loves them, which completely baffles me. I always have hated them. (The sprouts, not my family.) We have tried a couple of recipes, but this one is on the list for this year.
- Green Bean Casserole. I’m a weirdo who LOVES green beans. We are trying this recipe with mushrooms this year, and I have a feeling I will be eating a butt ton of this by myself. I don’t mind at all.
- Pies. We are still deciding on these. I’ve put my foot down and said only 3 desserts, because everyone wanted their own pie and there’s no way in the holy Lord’s good green earth that I am making a separate pie for each person. Nope. Did that one year. Right now, we have a chocolate cream pie, a dutch apple or a double crust apple pie, a dual layer pumpkin cheesecake, a pumpkin pie and a mincemeat pie in the request pile.
That’s our Thanksgiving for this year! We will stuff ourselves with food, then lie around on the couches and watch Elf for its scheduled annual viewing.
What are you having for your turkey day? Do you have any traditions?
This post was written as a part of the NaBloPoMo, a daily blogging journey I am committing to in November 2017.