If you have not started planning your Thanksgiving feast, it’s time to stop procrastinating.
This not only will help you have a more enjoyable day a week from Thursday, but it also will save you money on Christmas and other holiday celebrations to follow. The prices on canned goods, frozen foods and baking supplies typically go up right after Thanksgiving, so while you’re shopping for Nov. 28, stock up for the weeks to follow.
Here are five other tips to help you, the Thanksgiving host, have as much fun as your guests…
1. Before you go shopping, check your pantry and freezer to see what you already have on hand. For instance, if you have a few cans of green beans, you’re halfway home in preparing the holiday Green Bean Casserole Green Bean Casserole made famous by Campbell’s. No Thanksgiving is complete without it.
2. Decide on what kind of party you want to have. A sit-down meal requires precision timing… and a little bit of luck… in the kitchen. A much less stressful option is to serve the meal buffet-style, using your kitchen counter (if big enough) or a few card tables placed side by side for staging the various dishes. If you’re on a tight budget, place high-carb items (yams, potatoes) and dinner rolls at the beginning of the line; by the time guests get to the higher-priced items, their plates will be full.
3. Find a family member or friend to help you in the kitchen. Lots of people enjoy cooking and/or prepping plates, and chances are good that someone close to you would love to help out.
4. Cut down on glassware washing after the party by providing each guest with a customized wine charm for their (one) wine glass. “Hit the office supply store for round paper tags, which can be customized with a rubber stamp and easily labeled with guests’ names or initials,” advises Cindy Dampier of Tribune Newspapers. “Attach them to glasses with ball chain from the hardware store. Or score numbered brass key tags and tie them on with jute twine or classic waxed string.”
5. Having grown up in a family bakery business, I’m a bit of a wine snob. For a special occasion such as Thanksgiving, keep the frozen pies in the freezer, and either pick up a fresh pie from a local bakery or pie shop/restaurant (such as Marie Callender’s), or bake a fresh pie. When you bake it yourself, you also save a lot of… dough.
Tomorrow: More great Thanksgiving planning ideas from Bon Appétit magazine.