Thanksgiving week is here, and along with it the mad rush to make sure that the dinner is organized, travel plans on schedule, and the beds are made with fresh sheets for out-of-town guests. People often ask me or my parents what special things we are planning for our Thanksgiving meal. Honestly? I think long ago we all figured out that the simpler the better. We make our roast turkey the same way every year, because it works, and it’s good. Same with the stuffing. I rather think my mother would have a riot on her hands if she changed her stuffing in any way. We’ll have green beans, and either squash or sweet potatoes, heaping mounds of mashed potatoes, and some form of cranberry sauce. Dessert is usually my dad’s apple cranberry pie. (Check the site for more Thanksgiving recipe ideas.)
If you are planning to cook a turkey for Thanksgiving, some foresight is necessary. My brother Eddie tells the story of he and his roommate Mike, right out of college deciding to cook a turkey for Thanksgiving. They bought a frozen 15 lb turkey, unwrapped it, removed the giblets, and put it in a 350°F oven for whatever time the instructions on the turkey said. At the end of the cooking time, they pulled out a perfectly browned, delicious-looking turkey, only to cut into it and find it still completely frozen, about an inch in. They went out for turkey sandwiches at Subway for dinner that night. (By the way, a 15 pound turkey takes about 3 days to defrost in the refrigerator.)
So, our tips for a successful Thanksgiving? Keep it simple. Order your turkey in advance. Make your pie doughs on Tuesday and pies on Wednesday so you have the oven free on Thursday. (See Thanksgiving pies for pie ideas.)
By keeping it as uncomplicated as possible you’ll have a little brain space left to actually enjoy the friends and family gathered at your table. Oh, and that tissue paper accordion turkey centerpiece in the photograph? Kids LOVE them. We had one my dad brought out every Thanksgiving when we were growing up. I bought a new one online this year.
What’s your favorite Thanksgiving survival tip? Let us know in the comments.