There’s no heavy lifting today, only some more planning.
How are you serving your meal? Is it family style around the table or are you setting up a buffet where everyone helps themselves? Now it’s time to take a look at your menu and take an inventory of your serving dishes.
Next to each menu item write down a brief description of the dish it will be served in ie glass 9 x 13 or white oval casserole. If these dishes aren’t in every day use, place a post-it or 3 x 5 card with the menu item’s name in the bottom of each dish. Now if people want to be helpful on Thanksgiving they will need less direction. I know I don’t communicate very well when I have a bunch of dishes cooking, each in a different stage of completion.
If you don’t have enough dishes, check thrift stores and yard sales this weekend. Otherwise the foil pans work well for buffet style, but I wouldn’t trust them to be passed around a dinner table. No one wants grandma to get a lap-full of scalding hot macaroni and cheese. If you have family coming to eat, it’s ok to ask if you can borrow a serving dish for the big day. Just don’t return it dirty.
Here’s a point I forgot when planning this year’s event: serving utensils. Match a serving utensil appropriate to the planned menu item and write that down next to the serving dish description or on the 3×5. Make sure each of these utensils is present and accounted for. I’ve lost quite a few to the sandbox in the backyard or points unknown.
Since you’re already looking at your serving dishes also give some thought to the look of the table overall. This year was the first year I gave any thought to decorating and I brought in my friend Heidi for guidance She’s the creative soul behind the candycorn centerpiece. I’ll post a quick tutorial this afternoon. Also a quick thank you to Leigh Ann Garrett for a few other decorating ideas.
Are you playing catch up? Check out Holidays with Home-Ec 101 to see every post in this series.
10 thoughts on “Countdown to Turkey Day 2009: November 10”
Looks good! I've also bought quite a few serving dishes at thrift stores. Large utensils and cooking tools are nice to find there too. If you go with glass, you don't have to worry about everything not matching.
I try to stick with glass, white, or red. I know the last one won't always go, but I love it so much that I've been letting myself indulge with a few pieces.
I love the red dishes; my house is mostly in earthy, warm colors. One of those you have on your table looks like one I have–I found a Le Creuset square baking dish with red on the outside and cream inside at a discount store (Ross or Marshall's, I forget) for $13 and got really excited. I love that brand, but can't come close to affording it even at the Le Creuset outlet store near us. Anyway, you can find plenty of great looking dishes in that style for a lot less money.
Last year my husband found a great deal on a set of Le Crueset. It was far cheaper than buying the dishes individually. Since I have a smooth top range, I can't use cast iron, but the enameled iron works beautifully. I get most of the benefits without scratching the stove.
We do the whole buffet thing…I've got a big high bar in my kitchen, I just line up trivets and start taking stuff out of the oven and slappin it down. I poke a serving spoon in and we're ready to go. We also do the whole aluminum pans thing…we put what we can in those and just TRY to keep the dishes to a minimum. We also go "Redneck Chic" with the china and flatware. Paper plates with big fat turkeys and coordinating paper napkins…..all topped off with plastic cutlery. We're sooooo nouveau riche!!! LOL
On the serving utensil issue — party stores have nice big plastic serving spoons and forks very inexpensively. I know we serve way more different dishes for Thanksgiving than normally so I never have enough. They're also great for taking to pot lucks and picnics — no worry about losing good ones. And since I've had the plastic, I haven't lost one — no one accidentally goes hope with one from a potluck.
Great ideas heather!
We were going to go to Granny and Grandpa's for Thanksgivign this year. But I have officially decided that we will dine in (just our family, though) and have our own feast prior to setting off for the family visitin'. You guys make me want to cook a big 'ole spread and I think it will be too much fun to pass by.
We're having our trial run next week……yippee!
When we lived in Minnesota all of the big holidays were taken so we cooked on Boxing Day (the day after Christmas). Sometimes you just have to create your own traditions.