Thanksgiving day is less than 60 hours away – which means, if you’re the kitchen host this year, you’re probably stressing a bit to make sure everything is beautifully presented and tasty. Waiting till the day-of to do everything will ensure you end up with added gray hairs and a last minute call to the Chinese restaurant for reservations.
If you’re new to the whole Thanksgiving preparations thing, or if you’re just a slightly overwhelmed Thanksgiving host veteran, we’ll try to make your week-of a bit more organized with a few reminders.
Thaw your turkey
If you’ve underestimated the time it takes to defrost a turkey, you’re not alone. It typically takes 24 hours to thaw 4-5 lbs of turkey in your refrigerator. If you’re using this method, make sure you place your gobbler in a container to catch any dripping and avoid the contamination of other foods in your fridge.
If you’ve purchased a huge turkey and don’t feel the refrigerator method will give you enough time to defrost your turkey, you can use the cold-water method. Just make sure to keep your bird well-wrapped in plastic (so the water doesn’t actually get to the meat) and allot at least 30 minutes for each pound. Don’t forget to replace the water frequently (about every 30 minutes).
Note: Don’t leave your turkey to defrost on the counter or in warm water (no matter how tempted), as this will invite harmful bacteria to grow. We’re not trying to make everyone sick this year.
Get your groceries
If you haven’t made it to the grocery store yet, you’re going to want to do that today to ensure you get the items you need before they’re all sold out. Make sure food isn’t the only thing on your grocery list. You’ll want to stock up on paper towels, toilet paper, coffee, tea, alcohol, bottled water, a bag of ice (in case your ice maker quits on you), etc. If you’re using the grill for any of your preparations, make sure you have enough propane or charcoals so that you won’t have to make a trip last-minute.
Make room in your fridge and pantry
You’ve probably started clearing your refrigerator by now, but just in case you haven’t, now’s the time. Once you start preparing dishes (especially those prepared the day before), you’ll need to find a temporary home for them in the fridge. This is one of those times you’ll wish you’d opted for the larger refrigerator model.
Note: While you’re preparing, this is the perfect time to make a checklist of details you’d like to see in your future kitchen. Whether your plan is to remodel after the holidays or in the next five years, it can’t hurt to write likes and dislikes down as you think of them (more storage, larger appliances, a wider sink basin, etc).
Laundry and ironing
Now that we’re nearing the day, you’ll want to get everything done that you can to keep your Thanksgiving stress-free. This means laundry and ironing. Iron your table linens ahead of time, or you’ll end up settling for creases on the day of…table cloth, runner and cloth napkins. Also, if you’re having house guests, throw in your towels and sheets now so that you’re not rushing to fold the laundry and make the beds as your guests walk through the door.
Breathe and relax
This may be the most important reminder of all. You still have time to get everything accomplished, and Thanksgiving is supposed to be a fun tradition. Don’t let it stress you out so much that your family and friends forget what a nice, kind, loving host you are. Not everything has to be perfect (although, chances are it will be) and if something crazy happens, well…you’ve got a great story you and your guests will never forget.