Sunday, November 20, 2011

Practical Advice on Keeping Thanksgiving Thankful

The beloved new daughter in law and son will be here in just two days. In preparation, I have cleaned a little every day for two weeks which means not what you would think. The house is not clean. It just is ready for me to start the line up of chores all over again. This is the problem with advance planning. For a house to be clean when guests arrive, you have to clean it two minutes before they walk in the door.
So right now, the house is not disgusting, and that may have to do....because: today is advance cooking day.

My normal recipe search on the internet always includes the word, "easy", for reasons that I have explained often on this blog. The Thanksgiving search has a slightly different permutation. It still includes the word, "easy", but I add "make ahead."  My plan is to make ahead all but the turkey so that on Thanksgiving day, I can enjoy my family instead of slaving in the kitchen. It worked perfectly last year with the one small problem that it was so cold, there was nothing to do on Thanksgiving except to twiddle our thumbs and wait for the turkey to be done. And of course to be thankful.

My daughter has long begged me to make my blog more interesting, to add items of useful impact to my readers since she feels I am becoming, or perhaps have always been, boring. So, I am going to share my secret for having Thanksgiving Day fuss free, leaving the cook completely available to just sit around and be thankful.If that doesn't entice new readers to my blog, nothing will.

First, I compile a menu. For you natural chefs out there, this seems obvious. For me, it was nothing short of an epiphany. (Good SAT test word, Asherel- look it up.) I called all my loved ones and asked their favorite Thanksgiving food. Then I sat down and wrote their choices to make my Thanksgiving feast:
turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes,deviled eggs, gummy worms.

Step number two, I developed a shopping list. Again, this is something seasoned cooks do automatically. I usually just wing it. I go to the grocery store and try to remember everything I will need. Given my memory skills, you can imagine what I come home with.
"Matzos?" says Arvo, pulling food from the bags, "Gefilte fish? Pascal lamb? Vicky...where is the turkey?"
"Yes, the traditional Thanksgiving turkey."
"OH! I knew I forgot something!"
"You forgot the turkey?"
"No, I forgot I was shopping for Thanksgiving! I skipped right over to Passover."
So this year, I have a list. At the top, I wrote THANKSGIVING, and underlined it.

But to develop the list, I first went online and searched for "EASY, MAKE AHEAD Thanksgiving dishes."
There are a surprising number. I found make ahead mashed potatoes, make ahead green bean casserole, make ahead sweet potato casserole, and make ahead cranberry relish. Of course I can make the deviled eggs in advance, and I already have 5 pounds of gummy worms left over from the Agility trial Friday.

Today I will spend the whole day cooking and the rest of the week, I will relax and gaze in peace and gratitude upon my beloved family. And be thankful for one other thing- the internet and make ahead recipes.
In my opinion, make ahead recipes prove to all those doubters out there that there must be a God.

1 Chronicles 28:19
19 “All this,...I have in writing as a result of the LORD’s hand on me, and he enabled me to understand all the details of the plan.”


  1. I am thankful that my Thanksgiving meal will not include green bean casserole and gummy worms.....yuck....

  2. You could probably substitute lima beans for the green beans