No, I am not referring to the Pilgrims and the Native Americans celebrating the harvest of 1621. What I am referring to is much more intimidating, I am talking about hosting my first Thanksgiving, in my own home. Yes, I am a 30 something woman and yes this is the first time the responsibility has landed in my lap. Part of me feels a little guilty that I have been able to pass the buck for so long. Is this a rite of passage that I should have taken on years ago? It has always just been a given that Thanksgiving, as well as Christmas and any other holiday where we gather takes place at Mom and Dad’s house. Well this year Rob and I have moved into a nice suburban house. Wow! There is actually a dining room! With a dining table. This might indeed be a first for me. So, when we moved in I mentioned off the cuff “Hey the new house is big enough that we could have Thanksgiving here.” I didn’t even think anyone was listening until Mom responded (rather quickly I might add) “OK!” Hmm, what have I gotten myself into? I’ve never cooked a turkey. Come to think of it, I’ve never made mashed potatoes, unless you count rehydrating the ones in a box. So now that Thanksgiving is only a few weeks away, all kind of thoughts are swirling through my head. Do I have enough forks? Is the new dining room table big enough? How do I coordinate everything to be finished at the same time? Thankfully Dad has offered to not only grill the turkey at our house but to bring his own grill, because apparently a gas grill is not as good as charcoal. So, I have feverishly been pouring over Google, Pinterest, and any blog that can educate me on how to prepare and what to expect. So far this is what I have gathered:
Plan the menu – What are you serving? How much of it will you be serving? If there are kids, are they picky eaters? Also, what time of day will you be eating? This will determine the schedule for the entire day.
Make a list – One for the grocery store, one for Target, or anywhere you plan to shop, and make it detailed because you WILL forget something.
Buffet or sit down -This is both personal preference and also logistics depending on your table accommodations.
Make sure you have enough plates, utensils, serving dishes, etc. – If not, borrow or purchase.
Prepare the Kitchen – Clean the frig, put away any clutter to make cooking easier.
Clean the rest of the house while you’re at it – you are having company over and they will likely fill every corner of your home. They will be sitting in the living room, using the bathroom, and playing in the yard. If you can’t clean the whole house, hide it all in a closet and hope no one snoops.
Purchase non-perishable food ahead of time – The grocery store will be an absolute zoo the entire week. If you can avoid even a few minutes the Wednesday before, a pre-grocery trip is well worth it.
Pie Plan – Make or buy? If buying, call a week ahead to reserve.
If your turkey is frozen defrost it a few days before – It will take forever.
Food Prep – prepare as much food the day before as possible; including peeling potatoes which can be stored in a bowl of water in the frig, chop veggies and put in ziplock, cut bread for stuffing.
Ask Mom for help – Or anyone for that matter. There is not only a lot of food to prepare but clean up afterwards and entertaining all day long. Delegate as many chores as you can.
So now that I know what I should do, let’s see if the next few weeks go to plan…