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Thanksgiving Throwdown

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Thanksgiving Throwdown

Photo credit: winnond / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo credit: winnond / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

     It’s an exciting time! Well, it’s exciting until you find yourself at the grocery store on Wednesday, or God help you, Thursday morning. We’re gearing up for our holiday and want to bring you along for the ride!

         To get us started, here’s a list of what Drawl is doing right now to get ready for Thanksgiving!

Our Pre-Turkey To-Do

  1. Clean out your refrigerator and tidy up the pantry.
         We know. You don’t want to do it. We don’t either. But, we have to make room for the groceries and advance-assembled casseroles (and leftovers!) and we have to take stock of what we have already, so we might as well go ahead and throw out last year’s can of fried onions and the freezer-burned cranberries of good intent. Wipe down the inside and outside of the refrigerator while you’re at it so you don’t feel that drop of dread in your belly when a guest pops in to chill a bottle of wine.
     
  2. Make a master recipe list.
         Use that list to write an ingredient list. Check expiration dates and condition of ingredients you already have (Is your sage from the Clinton administration?) and corral the pantry items together for easy locating during your cooking operation, making sure they actually exist. Add the remaining items to the shopping list.
         A word of advice -- keep the recipe list to make sure everything gets to the table/sideboard/buffet. I have vivid memories of the first time I took the mister home to Mom and Daddy’s. Thanksgiving was his first family visit, and we were all so excited that we found the untouched dressing pan in the laundry room, sitting on the dryer, two hours after the feast. To the mister’s credit, he excitedly asked my mother for the pan and a fork.
     
  3. Find your dishes.
         Note what cooking/serving dishes and utensils you will need for each recipe and be sure those dishes are clean and easily available. Thursday at 11:30 a.m. is not a good time to find out that Great Aunt Helga’s compote is in the attic. This list is also a good way to determine whether you have enough French White, Anchor Hocking, and Pyrex to get you through the week. If not, now would be when to remedy that situation.
     
  4. Determine your table.
        Linens and napkins clean? Need pressing? Don’t have 'em? Get 'em! Find any extra tables and seating you need, and don’t forget to find places for all your food. Sometimes the table gets too full. If you need any flowers or other accoutrements for the table, add them to your list and get moving soon!
     
  5. Create a cooking schedule.
         Most of us only have one oven and four burners. Figure out what to make in advance and in what order, and what should be in the oven when on the big day.
     
  6. Clean the kitchen and stove, but DON’T clean the oven!
         We know it’s counter-intuitive to clean the kitchen before you destroy it, but this will help you inventory where all your measuring cups and utensils are, and it’s much more pleasant to start in a clean kitchen. Also, people love to gather here, and you’ll feel better if the spatters are pumpkin-and-potato related and not from a Halloween cake pop-dipping festival last month. Clean up your appliances and make sure everything is in good working order. (Confession -- we keep a backup coffee grinder and brewer just in case.)
         A word of caution: Don’t use the oven’s self-cleaning feature! Using a really high temp can be the end of an oven or its element, and people often want to clean it before the holidays. Don’t do it. It’s better to have spatters and a little burning than no way to cook the turkey.
     
  7. Buy your alcohol.
         The day before Thanksgiving is even worse at liquor and wine stores than it is at the grocery store.
     
  8. Pop a bottle open, have a drink, and meditate.
         Everything’s going to be really fun this year!

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