Countdown to Turkey Day 2012: The Serving Dish Assignment

Heather says:

Think back to November 1, when we first kicked off this year’s Countdown to Turkey Day. We talked about a few things, like who you were inviting, what style would be involved. Now it’s time to revisit the question: How are you serving your meal?

Will it be family style with everyone seated around the table or are you setting up a buffet where everyone helps themselves?

Pull out your finalized menu, the one you made while creating the shopping list on Friday. You have been keeping up, right?

Now check your cupboards and storage areas for all of your serving and baking dishes. Each item you plan on cooking will have to be cooked in something, right? It’d be silly to have a really amazing Thanksgiving menu and realize, day of, that you have nothing to serve with.

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.

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, please, don’t return it dirty. I don’t need any emails, “My daughter raved about your Thanksgiving planning and then she couldn’t be bothered to even wash the dish I loaned her, thanks a lot.”

Okay, so maybe I made that last part up, but I work with the public and well, let’s just say I’m no longer surprised by the lengths people will go to find something to complain about.

Do not forget about serving utensils

I almost always neglect to count 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.

So here we are, it’s November 9th and we have just over two weeks to go.

Are you ready for Thanksgiving?

Here’s what we’ve done so far with the Countdown to Turkey Day 2012 Series:

We’ve found the dining room table, made a guest list (and invited them), we have made a soft menu plan, and newbies, if you’ve never even roasted a chicken that’s on your to-do list, right? And we have created our Thanksgiving Day Menu.

How is that dining room table looking? Yep, move that stack of mail, it needs a new home before it attracts all of its cluttery friends and has a party that spills onto your kitchen counters (Why does this happen?).


  1. AngelStar on November 13, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    Preparing for our 9th Annual Thanksgiving Ex-Pat Buffet. We will have around 50 people and, being out of country, I hunt and gather throughout the year. Over the years it has gotten easier to obtain some items but, scratch is the name of the game.
    My main problems would be enough mashed potatoes and deviled eggs. Our eggs are not refrigerated and very fresh and rarely has a centered yolk. Go figure. I keep serving from 1pm to 5pm and have tried keeping fresh non-contanimated food going and mashing more potatoes is beyond me. This year, I am going to do Make Ahead Potatoes and I will be baking my boiled eggs. Sometimes I feel if I could set up turkey, mashed potatoes and a deviled egg bar nothing else would be missed….well, we could not leave out the pies.
    Happy Thanksgiving Countdown from Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

  2. Sara Anders on November 13, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    Be thinking about left over containers too! I know we always like to share leftovers and send them home with our guests… I just don’t want to send my good plasticware out the door in hopes that I get it back.

    But I like to start collecting disposable plastic tubs – butter or cool whip etc that I can send yummies home and not have to worry about getting back because the recipient can just recycle it when they are finished!

    • Michele N. on November 14, 2012 at 11:03 am

      I’m a fan of the so-called “disposable” plastic containers made by Ziploc, Rubbermaid, etc. This time of year I often find them on sale for less than $2 per six pack! They’re very reusable in my experience (and dishwasher safe to boot), but they’re so inexpensive that I just send guests on their merry way and tell them to consider the container a party favor. 😉

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