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Cuisine by Maureen – Ten Days of Thanksgiving: A Not-so-serious Guide for a Stress-free Holiday

 

tgiving tableKENTUCKY (11/13/12) – Today is Tuesday, ten days before Thanksgiving.
 
Here’s my practical, not-so-serious guide, to get you ready for THE BIG DAY. Since I haven’t done a thing about getting ready, here’s what I’m thinking might work, if I got started today.

Day ten: If you haven’t made your shopping list, and done a little pre-shopping, today is the day. For instance, if you’re buying a frozen turkey, you need to buy it, and store it in the refrigerator, so on day five, Sunday, you can brine it, or salt it. This is also the time to buy cheese, nuts, wine and any other beverages you will be serving. It’s smart to get this stuff out of the way, but make sure you hide the goodies in the pantry and in the back of the fridge, so you’re not slapping hands for the next nine days, or worse, on Thanksgiving, find an empty jar of nuts, or a half bottle of Pinot Noir.
 
Day nine: This is the day to find your serving utensils, trays, tablecloth and napkins, plates, glasses, and table decorations. Even if it’s just you and one other, chances are you haven’t used your oversized turkey platter, gravy boat, or turkey baster since last year. Rinse off the dust, and stack them on an unused chair until day three.
 
Day eight: Bake your sweet potato and green bean casseroles. Freeze them until day two. Walk the dog, soak in a bubble bath, and go to bed early with a good book.
 
Day seven: It’s one week before Thanksgiving. It’s time to bake those pies and freeze them, or if you’re buying pies this year, pre-order them. You will remove the pies from the freezer the morning of day two, then on Thanksgiving morning, remove them from the refrigerator, and set them on the counter to bring them to room temperature. When the last of the food is out of the oven, reduce the heat to 250 degrees, and place the pies in the oven to warm. Another option? Order your pies from the best baker in town. If that happens to be your sister-in-law, call her immediately.
 
Day six: Buy your turkey! Or if you’ve already bought it, remove it from the freezer, and place it in the refrigerator. Shop for vegetables, such as potatoes, apples, carrots, and cranberries. If you’re serving a fresh salad, (yes, some people eat salad on Thanksgiving,) wait, if you can, to buy those greens until day two. You’ll need to get out of the house at that point for something. For instance, you might need more wine. See day four.
 
Day five: Salt your turkey, or if you must, brine it. Turn the radio to your favorite station, and then turn up the volume. Mix a Bloody Mary and make a pot of chili. Once the chili is simmering, turn off the radio and turn on the football game.
 
Day four: Get out your roaster, stockpots and double boilers. Find the kitchen twine, oven thermometer and turkey lifters. Set the pans on the stove as if you’re cooking on Thanksgiving. Open a bottle of wine. Take a swig, or two. Re-cork the wine, and then reheat some chili. Relax, it’s only Monday.
 
Day three: You’ve got three more days before Thanksgiving. You haven’t done any of this stuff. Panic sets in. Pick up the phone and call whoever is coming to dinner. Ask them, okay, beg them, to bring something, anything. Bribe them with whatever you’ve got, like your grandmother’s if-I-tell-you, I’ll-have-to-kill-you gravy recipe. Set the table.
 
Day two: On your way home from work, shop for whatever your guests aren’t bringing, like the turkey. All the turkeys are frozen, so buy a ham instead. Don’t forget spring mix for the salad! Aunt Judy is vegan! Once home, make the stuffing. Refrigerate it. Remove the casseroles and pies from the freezer. Put the casseroles in the refrigerator, and the pies on the counter. That is if you made them on days eight and seven.
 
Thanksgiving Day: Turn on the television for the Macy’s Day parade. Peel the potatoes, and then whip them into a creamy mound of happiness. Cover them and refrigerate, they’re ready for the microwave later. Place the turkey in the oven, if you bought one, or put the ham on the counter to bring to room temperature. Remove the stuffing and casseroles from the refrigerator, and pile every bottle of white wine you bought in the now empty refrigerator. Arrange cheese on a tray. Drink a mimosa, and then wait for your company. After all, it’s just hours before the dysfunction fun begins.
 
Happy ten days of Thanksgiving!
 
Maureen C. Berry
Freelance Writer and Blogger
Visit Maureen’s nationally renowned culinary website at www.cuisinebymaureen.com.
 
 
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