Thursday, November 1, 2012

Thanksgiving Prep

I am late on getting this power will do that to you!  But I promise it is worth the wait-- it's  my Thanksgiving/Christmas Planner.  I created this a number of years ago after my Dad sent me a similar version from the London Times. 

For my house, I have printed the planner and put in a binder which holds all my Thanksgiving/Christmas day recipes.  That way, I have everything that I need in one place.

So, without further adieu, the Thanksgiving Day planner.

Thanksgiving/Christmas day Prep CheckList

November 1   
  • Invite guests to Thanksgiving dinner
November 2
  • Make Pumpkin Pie.  You can make this now and keep it in the refrigerator for up to four weeks, or make the pies and freeze them, unbaked, until Thanksgiving.
  • Order smoked fish to have on Thanksgiving day with crackers.
  • Book Beauty appointments (Hair, nails, waxing)
  • Book extra holiday help: babysitters, a pre-party house cleaner
November 3
  • Clear out the Freezer. Defrost if necessary to create extra room, and eat anything that does not pertain to Christmas
  • Go through the spices and replace any that are old or not immediately fragrant (see Spice list)
  • Re-look at Thanksgiving Menu and decide on any adjustments, additions, or deletions that you want to make
  • Order my smoked turkey or fresh turkey.  Make a note of what you ordered, from whom, and when it will be delivered or needs to be collected. 
  • Find the Turkey trussing needle/ string, fat separator, cheese cloth, mini muffin tin, meat thermometer, and carving fork/ knife now, to save hunting the drawers on Christmas morning
November 4
  • Inventory liquor cabinet.  Use Liquor list to make sure bar is fully stocked
November 6
  • Make Stock.  Having chicken Stock in the Freezer means gravy is halfway there.  You’ll need chicken bones, celery, carrots, bay leaf, cover with water, bring to a boil, skim well, and simmer for two hours.  Strain and freeze.  (I use the remnants from a chicken I have used for chicken salad)
  • Put butter into molds—wrap in foil and freeze. 
  • Pick- up cheese.  Grafton cheddar is always a favorite, a nutty stilton, or an ash covered Humboldt Fog goat cheese is wonderful.  Whichever you choose, make it big and whole, Thanksgiving/ Christmas time is not time to hold back.
November 10
  • Go shopping.  Do a pre Thanksgiving/ ChristmasChristmas shop and stock up on the kitchen before the hordes arrive.  See Advance Grocery List
November 11
  • Make Shortbread or Spritzes
  • Make Strawberry Bread and Banana bread.  Wrap in foil and put into Freezer bag (label with date and description)
  • Last day to ship to Europe
November 12
  • Check plates, sterling and glasses—make sure I have enough
  • Check serving platters and sterling to make sure I have appropriate pieces
  • Check tablecloth and napkins and make sure I have the appropriate pieces
  • Polish all sterling pieces
November 19
  • Make sure all serving pieces are easily accessible.  If not pull them out now.
November 20
  • Make any patés or terrines, as they need time to mature
  • Make the cranberry/ apricot sauce.  Seal and store in the fridge.
  • Make the cranberry orange sauce.  Seal and store in fridge.
November 21
  • Start delegating within your family as possible.  Give people specific areas of responsibility
    • Arranging the flowers
    • Cleaning any silver
    • Making Drinks
    • Setting the table
  • If you are going to use your own bread for the stuffing—save the daily bread.  You’ll need two stales loaves of two-day-old bread.
November 22
  • Make Ice.  Rally all ice trays into action for cocktails
  • Make Corn and Wild Rice soup with sausage
November 23 (22nd if you are doing dinner on the 24th)
  • Make the breadcrumbs for the stuffing.
  • Pick up Thanksgiving orders.  Remember to confirm the weight of the turkey when you pick it up so you can calculate the cooking time.  If you are using frozen remember that a 15 pound turkey can take up to 32 hours to thaw in a refrigerator 
  • Store food wisely: raw meat on the bottom shelf of the fridge so that it can not drip on other foods, oysters in a wet tea towel in the vegetable drawer
  • Final Shop.  Go early avoid the crowds, and don’t lose your head.  See Final Grocery List. 
November 23rd
  • Make apple pie
  • Make pecan pie
  • Make spinach dip and store in refrigerator
  • Defrost one loaf of strawberry bread and one loaf of banana bread
  • Chill Champagne
  • Defrost Broccoli cheese casserole by moving to the refrigerator
  • Make Pastry leaves for Pumpkin Pie + cheese spread


  1. i can't believe it's november already.

  2. Holy cow. I'm coming to your house on Thanksgiving! (I just hit Costco the Monday before!)