Los Angeles, California – Around this time every year, we start thinking about the massive family Thanksgiving feast and everything we need to do in order to plan it. The first thing to do is to think about the previous year and figure out what worked and what didn’t. There are so many areas to consider; menu planning, grocery shopping and the cooking and timing of the food.
Menu Planning: If you were going on a trip, you would plan your wardrobe, your mode of transportation and your accommodations. If you were running a marathon, you would plan a workout schedule, the perfect running outfit and your diet. Thanksgiving is also an event that needs to be planned for. Important things to consider are:
- What are you cooking?
- When can you grocery shop?
- How much room do you have in your refrigerator?
- Do all of your appliances work?
- How many people are you cooking for?
- Do you have enough plates, utensils, glasses and serving pieces?
- What time do you want to eat?
- Who will be helping you?
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Grocery Shopping: The best time to grocery shop is early in the morning on the Monday or Tuesday before (canned and boxed items can be purchased a week or two in advance) for all canned, boxed and sturdy perishable items (squashes, uncut fruit, turkey). Unfortunately, there are some things that should be bought at least two days or less before Thanksgiving like herbs and breads but, in all honesty, most of us will forget something and have to make a quick trip to the store. So this year, go ahead and add it into the plan.
- Can you preorder the turkey?
- How much food do you need?
- What do you need to buy?
- Will the grocery store run out if you don’t buy what you need?
- Will the grocery store have what you want?
- Do you need a second person to push another cart for you?
- When do you have time to shop?
- Are you buying things that have a price/sticker/barcode to make checking out easier?
- Is what you are buying in good condition (no leaks, no indentations)?
Cooking: Cooking is about planning, prepping and timing. The more you prepare ahead of time, the more enjoyable the meal will be. Keep your kitchen clean and organized and have enough containers to hold the prepped foods you prepare.
- What can you make ahead of time?
- What do you need to make last minute?
- What can be served room temperature?
- Does anyone have a food allergy?
- How can you reheat foods efficiently?
- Do you have family favorites?
- Do you have at least one new dish?
This year, take a few extra moments after the big event and jot some notes about the day, like: how many people did you feed and how much of each item did you buy and was it enough? And did your guests like it? That way, next year when you are planning the big event, you can go back to your notes and take the guesswork out of it.