How to Plan the Perfect Thanksgiving Dinner
November 2, 2020 3 Comments
How do you plan the perfect Thanksgiving dinner? I am going to take a stab at it and I hope others will share.
The word “perfect” is not one that I usually use but I thought it might get your attention. Clearly this year is not going to have many of the aspects of Thanksgiving that we love so much - like a kid’s table or Uncle George falling asleep in his pumpkin pie.
Which brings me to my first question:
Is this a Normal Thanksgiving?
This year, we are going to ensure the safety of our families, friends, and neighbors and forgo the big Thanksgiving where we all break bread. This choice does not mean that Thanksgiving can be any less perfect.
We can all get together over Zoom or your other favorite meeting application and be together. Social scientists say this is almost as good as being together in person.
If you haven’t hosted a Zoom meeting before it is simple and they give you one meeting free - they say it is for only 40 minutes but they extended my time. I ended up hanging with my relatives for about an hour.
I think that using these internet applications to bring in relatives from far away will teach us about what is important. Sometimes you can’t travel hundreds of miles to be together but we can still see each other and share.
Set up the meeting in the kitchen while you are cooking and your relatives will feel like they are part of the action. Just make sure you don’t spill any gravy on your computer - pro tip.
Next year - I hope - we will have a normal Thanksgiving (whatever that means to you).
I Don’t Want to Cook All Day
Neither do I, sister (or brother)!! Here are some ideas to keep you out of the kitchen.
*Order Thanksgiving from a local restaurant. Our local restaurants are hurting right now so you help them and YOU GET A BREAK. Their Thanksgiving meal might be better than yours. Another added bonus is that if you are in a bubble with someone who hates turkey - the can order something else. Problem solved.
*Make lobsters like BarbL. BarbL is one of my favorite readers and she has lobsters for Thanksgiving. They are fast, easy, delicious - and special. Here is a great guide to cooking lobster.
*Get your family or friends to help What are they doing right now? My teenagers will be in the kitchen on Thanksgiving lending a hand or I will take their phones. Got it?!
*Make stuff ahead. Two days ahead you can make cranberry sauce. One day ahead make stuffing and place in covered casserole dishes. Chop your aromatics, peel your sweet potatoes, and place them in containers in the fridge. Pretend you are the sous chef that you can’t afford to hire and get everything prepped so when you have to cook - it is a breeze. Or hire a sous chef.
I Only Have One Oven. How Do I get Everything on the Table Hot?
Buy another oven! Just kidding :)
This problem vexed me for a long time until I read this truly outstanding article in the New York Times about how to cook an entire Thanksgiving in one day in one oven. Check out the 400-Degree Thanksgiving.
I have been using this method for three years now and my Thanksgiving meal is perfectly hot. After you take out the turkey and allowing it to rest (before carving) - put all the dishes that need to be hot in a 400F oven covered with foil (your stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes…).
These go in the oven 20 minutes before you serve. It works!! I promise.
What Should I Wear
No one would confuse me with a fashionista so it is odd that I would choose to give advice on clothing. I will be wearing a t-shirt, apron, and sweatpants. No one can see my sweatpants on the computer!!
Be open to the possibilities even though this Thanksgiving isn’t what you thought it would be. It can be different and still perfect.
Check out these healthy Thanksgiving recipes if you are looking for guidance on what to serve.
Do you have tips for planning the perfect Thanksgiving Dinner? Please share.
Other posts you might like:
Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes You Must Make
Healthy Thanksgiving recipes are just as easy to make as the unhealthy ones.....