I cannot believe that Thanksgiving is a week away! Boy, do I need to kick my planning into high gear. If you are like me and need to start preparing for the Big Meal, begin with this planning checklist:
1.) Plan the menu.
Do you want to stick with the tried-and-true favorites this year or be adventurous and try something new? Or maybe a little of both? Check out some of these great online resources to help you narrow in on a five-star Thanksgiving menu:
Finecooking.com has a fantastic menu, complete with shopping list, created by seven top chefs featuring new spins on traditional Thanksgiving dishes.
A step-by-step guide and menu for cooking for a crowd is featured on Epicurious, complete with wine pairing tips.
Speaking of wine, check out Food & Wine’s list of top 10 great Thanksgiving wines.
Cranberries are a must-have when it comes to a great Thanksgiving menu. I love these ideas from Let’s Entertain on how to incorporate cranberries from beverages to dessert.
2.) Make sure you have the right equipment.
Williams-Sonoma has a wonderful checklist of essential Thanksgiving kitchen accoutrements. Scan the list to be sure you have all the tools you need to cook the bird, make the gravy, mash the potatoes, serve the pie…
3.) Check the weather.
Will it be sunny and beautiful, allowing guests to enjoy a drink on the patio? Or cold and rainy in which case you’ll need to practice some rainy day hospitality?
4.) School yourself.
What’s the best technique for making great pie crust? For carving a turkey? No need to fake it. There are great resources online like Saveur’s step-by-step instruction photo guide for carving a turkey or Martha Stewart’s Pie Crust 101.
5.) Set it up.
Doing a buffet? Check out this short, helpful Epicurious video with Clinton Kelly on tips for setting up a great buffet.
Need centerpiece ideas? This previous post offers some simple, stylish, organic-inspired ideas. Country Living also offers easy-to-execute ideas for dressing up your holiday table.
6.) Prepare for leftovers.
Plan ahead for how you will use all of that yummy leftover turkey. Epicurious has dozens of ideas to help you out.
Want to send home some leftovers with guests? Why not dress up the take home containers?
7.) Give thanks!
Above all, remember to pause and reflect on the many things in your life that you are thankful for. Invite your guests to do the same. For while food and drink and beautiful table settings are all important parts of the day, gratitude is the guest of honor.