Jan Norris: Food and Florida

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Thanksgiving: Your Plan is Under Way – Right?

November 19th, 2010 · 2 Comments

Florida's native Osceola turkey

Thanksgiving Day planner

Click here for my Thanksgiving Day planner. Print it out and cross things off. It could save your sanity at this point.

Menu written out, grocery list planned: check!

You have your menu planned and things in motion for the food aspect of Thanksgiving dinner – please nod your head up and down! We’re less than a week away and counting – shopping is going to be nuts in the stores this weekend (and a positive nightmare on Thanksgiving eve); if you still must shop, try for Sunday afternoon late or Monday night and you’ll hit the best times in the week ahead.Don’t forget your grocery lists (see planner).

Turkey thawing: check!

If you have bought a large frozen turkey – anything over 12 pounds, you should have it in the fridge already thawing. It is fine in the fridge this many days ahead. DO NOT think you’ll thaw it on the counter unless you want sick guests.

Dishes, linens ready, flowers ordered: check!

Have your incidentals bought by this weekend – things not bought at the grocery store: Wines and spirits, flowers, breads and pies. Have your dishes and linens all washed and ready by this weekend. Clean the house.

Seeing rocks ahead? Simplify

In trouble? If you even think you might be in the weeds already, then rearrange your plan. Simplify the menu, turn the dinner into a pot luck (most of us welcome the idea of bringing a dish to share), or change the time to later in the afternoon or evening to give yourself some time. Think about hiring clean-up help if it’s a huge after-dinner mess you’re facing.

The main thing is to plan – doing a turkey dinner at the last-minute isn’t impossible (cut it up and put it in a roasting pan on top of the dressing and bake it till done, or grill it), but it’s a lot smoother to plan ahead, and gives you so many more options.

Go with the flow

Jan's help line: 561-340-0820

Don’t set yourself up for failure by expecting everything to come out perfectly or timed to the second. Be flexible! Everybody is uncomfortable around a host who’s losing it.

Remember: Martha Stewart has minions of people to help her achieve her “perfect” foods and dinners. Julia Child made dishes 12 times each, yet still made mistakes, laughed, and kept on cooking. And finally: Superman and Superwoman are fictional characters.

Last resort: Call Jan

Call my help line on the top left of the page if you’re in deep trouble, and I’ll at least be able to talk you down off that ledge. Repeat after me: It’s only a dinner.

Tags: Holiday cooking

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Merrie Lee // Nov 21, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    Thanks for the kick in the pants! Husband responds better if I say, “Jan says—“. Only 11 this year, and everyone is assigned something to do or bring and that helps.
    Have a happy Turkey Day, and I hope you don’t get too many calls. Thanks for being there.

  • 2 Jan Norris // Nov 21, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    I like Thanksgiving, even with all the calls. We usually have it at my sister’s; everyone’s scattered this year. Unsure where I’ll land, but wherever, I’ll be making the pies!

    Happy Thanksgiving to you, too – thankful you’re there for me with cake help!

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