For those who host a holiday meal, we know this time can conjure up feelings of anxiety and stress, especially over Thanksgiving! While completely understandable, we have a few suggestions on how you can take your turkey-inspired trepidation down to a minimum.
1. Plan AHEAD
This sounds obvious, but so many people wait until the last minute. Meal-time prep can be stress free if you plan your recipes, and shopping, ahead of time. Ask your guests to confirm attendance well in advance out so you can gauge just how many appetizers you’ll need and how large of a bird you should buy. Don’t forget to backtime how long it will take to defrost and cook to perfection! Also, don’t underestimate how many pots and pans you may need. Do you have all the right accessories?
2. Keep it Simple
If this is your first time hosting, we understand the instinct to show off a diverse recipe repertoire. Thanksgiving is not the time to experiment. Keep your appetizers simple; cheese and crackers are delicious and require no prep time. Add nuts and olives to for an extra touch. We also recommend not getting too creative with the bird. While a “Turdurken” sounds impressive, perhaps attempt this multi-fowl fare at another time, before the big day.
3. Build in Breaks
Remind yourself to take a few breaks while cooking. Delegating a kitchen assistant can also help. By nature, people tend to be task-oriented, so if you assign small jobs, like chopping and peeling, to other house-mates, you free your time considerably. Plus, it will give the meal a more communal feel. Also, if you have the ability to, consider setting the table the day before. One less thing to do day-of, and you’ll notice if you’re short a fork or knife before it’s too late. Also, don’t feel you have to go crazy with decorations. No one expects you to be Martha Stewart or Nate Berkus. A nicely folded napkin goes a long way, and there are dozens of quick clips on YouTube on how to make various designs.
4. Create Cocktail Diversions
Create a cocktail station outside of the kitchen. You will lesson the amount of distractions where you will be moving about, and this will leave counter space for the food. Also, instead of playing chef and bartender, print out a few fancy cocktail recipes and make it a game. Challenge your guests on who can create the best Martini or Manhattan. Your guests will relish the chance on becoming a master mixologists for the moment, and someone will walk away with bragging rights until next year.
5. Give Thanks
Just before the meal, even if the stuffing is a bit dry, or the bird a bit overdone, we suggest everyone at the table takes a moment to say what they are thankful for. Bringing the holiday back to its purest meaning usually reminds even the pickiest of guests what’s truly important!