What to Do the Week Before Thanksgiving
There are about 10 days left until Thanksgiving, which is an awkward number of days. It’s too early to buy perishable food and start baking pies, but not much. It could be a whole weekend from today to the fourth Thursday in November, but shifting everything to this Saturday and Sunday will make those two days very stressful, and you should enjoy one last “normal” weekend before the Holidays begin in earnest. Some weekend work is inevitable, but there are a few things you can do to spread it out and keep your schedule as even as possible over the next 10 days.
Everyone plans big events differently, and some people don’t even think of Thanksgiving as a big event, and rightfully so. If you just recently found out that you will be hosting, or you just haven’t taken a step in planning due to a complete lack of interest, don’t worry: our first and second planning guides for Thanksgiving will surely understand you.
Check your team
Reach out to people who bring side dishes or otherwise help with Turkey Day preparations and make sure you’re all on the same page. Ask if they need help and let them know if you need help. If you need to schedule any last minute meals, desserts, drinks, or tasks, do so now so that the person in charge doesn’t have to fight at the last minute.
Make your turkey schedule
It is very important to give the turkey enough time to defrost. While you can speed up the process with cold water baths (or low temperature sous-vide baths), putting the bird in the refrigerator and forgetting about it for a few days is much easier, and I suspect you will need your hands (and a sink) to other things.
A turkey needs about one day in the refrigerator for every four pounds of mass, but I usually add one more day to that. If you are going to make a pickle, you also need to consider this. So for my turkey, which weighs 12 pounds and takes 24 hours to pickle, I know I need at least three days in the refrigerator, but I’m going to take four days to keep myself safe. I need to put the turkey in pickle on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, so I want to start thawing the turkey four days before. This means I need to put this bird in the refrigerator to start defrosting on Saturday (that was the day I pick it up). Once you know the defrost day, create an event and set an alarm on your phone so you don’t forget.
Buy perishable food (and anything else) ahead of the hustle and bustle of the weekend
Eggs, dairy products, fresh food, and other perishables should be the only ingredients you need to buy, and you should buy them before Friday to avoid last-minute crushing. If you have items on your menu that need to be super fresh, you can make a separate list for them at the last minute, but try to make the most of your shopping before the weekend.
Review the lists we talked about in our first planning guide to make sure you don’t miss a single jar of cranberry sauce, then put together your ultimate shopping list. In addition to the ingredients, make sure you bring drinks (including non-alcoholic ones) and the utensils and / or utensils you will need to prepare, serve, and consume each meal.
Check the device
By now, your oven should be clean (mine isn’t – oops), and your refrigerator should be pretty empty and ready to take in a lot of food. But your oven and refrigerator are likely not the only appliances you’ll use in your Thanksgiving meal. I would suggest that the mix uses a mixer, perhaps a food processor, or maybe a grill . If you haven’t used one or more of these devices for a while, take them out and make sure they still work and that you have all the attachments and batteries you need at hand. (Batteries are especially important if you are using a digital thermometer to check the temperature of your turkey – and you should.)
Make a plan for using the oven and stove
Each dish must be cooked in the oven, on the stove, or in another specialized device. So that I have room for everything, I like to take stickers, write down the name of the dish and where it was prepared, and then put that note in a casserole or skillet. I am planning to prepare this dish. inch. If I am cooking something in an instant pot , I will stick a note directly on its lid. (You can also write the information directly on the IP address with a dry erase marker if you like.) For the dishes that will go to the oven, I will also write their cooking temperature and approximate cooking time.
Writing down these silly little notes will give you a clearer idea of what your kitchen will look like on Thanksgiving morning: how many things you’ll cook on the stove, how crowded the oven is. Knowing this ahead of time, you can adjust your menu or schedule as needed so that everything is prepared and placed on the table with minimal stress.