Creating a Stress-Free Thanksgiving Feast
Posted by by Craig Thomas, catering specialist
Monday, November 19, 2012
Whether you’re a first-time host or a seasoned pro, preparing and serving a Thanksgiving meal can create anxiety for even the most laid-back personalities. You have all kinds of relatives in town, your new mother in-law is a picky eater, half your family is vegetarian, you can find a bird big enough… yikes! But it doesn’t have to be this way!
First of all, take a deep breath and then follow these easy steps:
Get a handle on the number of guests who will be coming and then start planning your menu; not the other way around. Keep in mind your guest count is an ever-changing number, so best to err on having too much food rather than too little.
Once you have your menu set, arm yourself with a shopping list and shop early to take advantage of store specials and to avoid long, stressful lines. Also, keep in mind there is no shame in taking your guests up on their offers to bring sides or desserts. People love to share their favorite dishes with others and you might just find a new Thanksgiving favorite!
Now is also a good time to do an inventory your dinnerware, pots and pans, spices and other pantry staples to ensure you have everything you need. Don’t forget to check serving platters, bowls and utensils, too. There’s nothing worse than scrambling at the last minute to find suitable serviceware to display your hard work.
Prepare Food Early
A vital element when cooking for a large number of guests is to prepare as many items as possible in advance, either that week or the day before. Pies, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole and many appetizers such as dips and vegetable platters can be made prior to the big day. If you do have to make several dishes on Thanksgiving Day, try to distribute them evenly between the stovetop, the oven and the microwave so don’t frantically scramble to finish, burning or undercooking something in the process.
Also, don’t be afraid to “cheat.” Our catering department offers many savory sides and delectable desserts that you can pass off as your own! Consider our Ciabatta stuffing with chestnuts and raisins or our Parmesan Yukon mashed potatoes to complement your meal. And for dessert, our Pumpkin Praline cheesecake is a wonderful finishing touch!
Keeping small children or even large children (otherwise known as adults) occupied before dinner can be a challenge. You want them out of your way, but still engaged. Be sure to have some family friendly DVDs and board games on hand. Or get them out of the house and work up their appetite with a game of touch football. If all else fails, put them to work at setting the table or washing dishes in the kitchen. Less work for you!
Chaos will happen on that day but don’t let small problems ruin it. Learn to laugh at burnt side dishes or under baked pies. If nothing else, a little drama will provide your guests with stories to share in the years to come.
Have a happy Thanksgiving!