Thanksgiving — Why Bother Planning?

This next guest author needs no introduction, because luckily she’s written one into the very first sentence!


So, if you’re like me, Melissa Lion of Recovering Californian fame, you’ve talked a big game about how you’re going to cook Thanksgiving dinner FROM SCRATCH because, basically you’re the man with balls of steel and a big red cape that says BIG MAN on the back, except you’re a woman and none of that is necessarily relevant but you want to flex your mighty cooking muscles. And your in-laws (all of them!) are coming up from California to stay in your 934 square foot house and you’ll be cooking for seven people, when you’re used to cooking just for two adults and a three year old. And you have just a day until all this happens, and you have deadlines and a house that needs a light cleaning and by light cleaning I mean a full-on sandblast followed by a spritz of Agent Orange (just for funzies). And HOLY SHIT WHAT ABOUT THOSE DEADLINES?!?

Here’s what you do: you plan your week’s cooking in advance.

Okay, I know that many of you already realize this, but there’s one of you who’s been nodding and gnawing at her fingernails through the previous 191 words. (Hi!)

It wasn’t until last year that I realized that cooking in advance was even an option. Seriously. One Thanksgiving was so very, very poorly planned by a woman with black hair and bangs and pale skin and lots of cleavage (I’m looking at you Miss Kaos…okay it wasn’t her, it was the other Portland lady who fits that bill — *me*) that my family and I wound up in Chinatown getting a chicken. In Chinatown, the chickens are merely de-feathered and not de-footed or beheaded and so we had to ask the nice gentleman with the buzz saw to take care of those unseemly bits.

I don’t want that to happen to the one person out there who had no idea she could cook the meal in advance.

Here’s my schedule for cooking Thanksgiving dinner this week:

Monday: Work on my deadlines and finish cleaning the house.

Tuesday: Cranberry Sauce, Turkey Stock.

Wednesday: Stuffing, Yam and Squash Puree, Pies (apple and pumpkin), Gravy, prepare salted turkey (no brining this year, going with Bon Appetit’s salted suggestion)

Thursday: Turkey, Brussels Sprouts, Potatoes.

See? Easy Peazy!

And to make things even easier, here’s my favorite cranberry sauce recipe. It’s so good, I made it two weeks ago and canned it for the relatives to take home with them.

Cranberry- Pomegranate Sauce with Satsumas

from Seriously Simple Holidays by Diane Rossen Worthington

(The only holiday cookbook you’ll ever need)

3/4 c sugar

1 c pomegranate juice

12 oz cranberries

4 satsumas

1/2 c pomegranate seeds

dash of balsamic vinegar

In a medium, non aluminum sauce pan, combine sugar, pomegranate juice and cranberries. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently for about 4 minutes, until the cranberries just begin to pop. Remove from heat and let cool.

Add satsuma pieces, pomegranate seeds, and balsamic and mix to combine. Place in a glass container, cover and refridgerate until using. Adjust seasonings to taste just before serving.

Can be made up to 5 days ahead.

Got that everyone? Now who’s going to help me with those deadlines and to clean my house?

2 thoughts on “Thanksgiving — Why Bother Planning?

  1. Will Radik says:

    One of my housemates’ family is sending him a Turkey. Since he and I are the only omnivores in the house, he will have no choice but to share ample amounts of turkey with me. Then I go to work, hosting karaoke. There’s my plans. : D

  2. Tena the Tahirih says:

    You know when people say, as they so often do, “Her face was frozen in a rictus of fear?” Those people are talking about me.
    I am literally frozen in place with my mouth gaping in terror. There’s so much to do that I can’t move. I wish I’d considered the importance of planning for this holiday.

    Instead it is Wednesday already and all I have is the turkey I pre-ordered from Zupans and the bag of stuffing I thought I might “fancy up.” Don’t ask me how I’ll fancy it up… I don’t cook.

    Maybe I should have thought about the whole “I don’t cook” thing before inviting people to my house for food…
    Oh, also, I don’t clean.

    I wish I had read this posting about a week ago.
    I will apply these excellent ideas next year.

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