Saturday, November 19, 2011

Thanksgiving Checklist

It’s always a good idea to plan ahead. Especially when food and company are involved.

With Thanksgiving coming up in just a few short days, I’ve decided to make a checklist to make sure everything is in place and ready to go when the big day comes. Last thing anyone wants is the realization that their turkey is still frozen and solid as a rock when it needs to be in the oven baking. It is also wise to know what your guests are planning on bringing as well so duplicates aren’t overbearing. Although admittedly, I don’t mind duplicate dishes in large gatherings of twenty or more people, but with a small group of ten or less a little variety is welcome.

So today, five days before, and a day or two longer than suggested, I’m taking out my turkey from the freezer and putting it into the fridge. The nice thing about having a fridge out in the garage is having the extra space to do this. Last year was a bitch and the bird was still frozen in the center after four days of her taking up a large portion of the only refrigerator we had. Perk one of moving. The downside is not having a dining room, so kitchen Thanksgiving dinner it will have to be.

I also like to make sure that I’ve got all my provisions ready for the sides. Yukon gold potatoes, heavy cream, butter and garlic for the mashed potatoes; stock, cornstarch and sage for the gravy; sausage, apples, onions and stock for the stuffing; cranberries, oranges, cinnamon and cardamom for the cranberry sauce… CRAP! I still need cranberries! Our guests are bringing green bean casserole and dessert, but I’m still tempted to make a pumpkin pie too. Or an apple pie. Maybe I’m just craving pie right now because it is so cold and wet outside. I’m also tempted to get some baby shrimp for my husband’s shrimp salad, another surprisingly festive addition to a holiday meal. Of course, with so much starch in the meal as it is, any green salad would be welcome.

Lastly is drinks. I’ve got three bottles of red wines, a cabernet sauvignon (okay, half a bottle), a merlot and mixed red, both from Rex Goliath or as I like to call it, the Forty-Seven Pound Cock since there is a picture of a forty-seven pound rooster named Rex Goliath on the label. While I’ve always loved Rex Goliath’s Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, their Free Range Red is deliciously smooth and goes well with a variety of foods. I’m not much of a white wine drinker, but we do have an unopened bottle of Riesling in the fridge leftover from something. Coffee, milk and filtered water should also be on hand too.

So, from my checklist, the only thing I have left unchecked is cranberries because when I went grocery shopping Tuesday the store didn’t have any. I think that is a crime. But, alas, another grocery store in the area has them so I suppose I’ll just have to pick them up this Tuesday when I gather final provisions. And decide whether or not to also make cornbread stuffing and rolls too.

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