Today is pretty short and sweet; you have a few things to make sure you’re on track for Thanksgiving:
Take your soft menu plan from Thursday and go over it. Are there any recipes you haven’t tested? Is there a cooking technique in one that you haven’t tried? Have ever even roasted a chicken? Please try a chicken before you go for the turkey. (There’s a lot less to use up when you start with a chicken if you’re unhappy with your first attempt)
If the answer is yes to any of these, pick a day this week or weekend and practice. Don’t stress yourself out on Thanksgiving itself. You have enough to think about without worrying if a recipe will come out well or not.
How well do you know your oven?
If you’ve just moved and you don’t know your oven very well, do the toast test and get used to it. (I learned this from Nathalie Dupree, and it makes a lot of sense. You buy a cheap loaf of white bread and arrange the pieces in a single layer on a baking sheet. Preheat your oven to 350 and place the baking sheet on the center rack. Then observe the bread as it toasts. What zone gets brown first? Which areas take the longest to toast? These clues let you get to know your oven’s hot and cool zones. Take a picture of the toast to help you remember and tape it to the inside of a cabinet door near your oven in for a reference the next time you bake something.
It’s completely okay to spend $2 or $3 on a loaf of bread to ensure you won’t ruin a future meal and if you’re really worried about the cost of that bread? Make croutons. (Wow, I still need to take new pictures of that.)
If you’re trying a gluten-free version of something you’ve only ever made with wheat flour, please give it a trial run, especially gravy and if you’re testing a gluten-free gravy make sure you’re using the same alternative flour you’ll have on hand on Thanksgiving day. Why? The thickness will vary wildly from mix to mix and it’s frustrating to run out of turkey stock 10 minutes before the food is supposed to be on the table.
Throw away, recycle, or donate three – five things that are just taking up space in your house. (And if it’s a set it only counts as one, no cheating.) Why? You’re going to have guests and the holidays are coming, you’ll appreciate the extra space.
How is that dining room table looking? Is it serving as a landing place for all the odds and ends, piles of mail and homework? Guess what; it is “later;” start putting that stuff away. You’re going to need that table soon.