Now, we don’t mean to alarm you, but the Biggest Meal of the Year is nine days away. Worry not, friends. We’ve put together a helpful timeline to get you through next week with both poise and peace of mind. Follow this timetable, and you’ll be serving your tastiest Thanksgiving ever while wondering what all the fuss was about.
(We can keep this timeline between us, if you’d like. Let your family and friends stand in awe of your calm before the Thanksgiving storm. We won’t say a word!)
Four Days Before Thanksgiving
- Bake your breads and rolls. Once they’ve cooled completely, you can freeze them in a freezer-proof bag or container. Just don’t forget to defrost them Thanksgiving morning. It’s hard to butter a rock-solid Parker House roll.
- Clean out the fridge and freezer. This probably isn’t the time to do a deep clean, but you’ll need to make room for the turkey, side dishes, pies and everything else.
- Depending on its size, start defrosting your frozen turkey in the refrigerator now. Allow 24 hours of defrosting time for every 4 pounds of turkey.
Three Days Before Thanksgiving
- Set all of the cookware you plan to use out in one spot and put sticky notes in each specifying which dish it will be used for. If you’re short on pans or have one that’s double booked, you’ll notice right away! Of course, you can stock up on the extra pieces you’ll need at your local Sur La Table.
- Wash and iron all of your table linens.
- Set out your serving pieces and glassware. Wash, polish or just generally spiff them up.
- Write out your place cards.
Two Days Before Thanksgiving
- Make a grocery list and go to the store to get all your perishables.
- Make your cranberry sauce or relish and store it in the refrigerator. (By the way, fresh or canned?)
- You can make your gravy now and store it in the fridge. On Thanksgiving, reheat it on the stove and whisk in some turkey drippings just before serving.
- Make any soups and store them in the fridge.
- If you’re making stuffing from scratch, tear up pieces of bread and leave them out overnight on a baking sheet to dry.
One Day to Go …
- If you’ll be brining your turkey, now’s the time to start.
- Bake your pies or other desserts. Store fruit pies at room temperature; pumpkin, pecan and other custard or cream pies go into the fridge.
- Chill white wine, beer and Champagne.
- Make as many side dishes, including the stuffing (or is it dressing?), as you can and store them in the fridge to be reheated tomorrow.
- Set your table.
- Order some takeout for dinner and get a good night’s sleep!
- Defrost those breads and rolls.
- Put the turkey in the oven. You’d be surprised how many people forget.
- Get your after-dinner coffee and tea service set up.
- Watch some football.
- Relax. Laugh. Enjoy the meal you’ve prepared. Spend time with the people for whom you’re most grateful. That’s what the day really is all about, after all.
So do you make a schedule to get you through Thanksgiving week? What does it look like? And are you making dressing, stuffing or both?