How to Prepare for Your Thanksgiving Dinner

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    Follow a Countdown Schedule

    • Thanksgiving dinners require a lot of planning in advance and at least a couple of trips to the supermarket, so following a countdown schedule is useful when planning your Thanksgiving feast:

      As soon as you decide to host a dinner, make up a guest list and invite your guests. Don't invite more people than you can afford to feed. Invite people via phone calls, so you can get an instant yes or no.

      Do your shopping one week before. If you wait until the last couple of days, all the decent-sized turkeys will be gone and you'll have to settle for a small one or fool your guests with a giant chicken. Buy all the ingredients for your recipes, and put the turkey in the coldest part of your freezer.

      Make sure you have all the necessary cooking equipment. In addition to the usual assortment of pots and pans, locate a cheese grater, a strainer, an electric mixer and various sized mixing bowls and baking dishes.

      Three days before Thanksgiving, do a massive cleaning job on your fridge--you're going to need the room. Also, take the turkey out of the freezer and move it into the refrigerator, so it can properly defrost.

      One day before, prepare all your side dishes and pies. Unless you have more than one oven, you might not have the room to bake any thing with the turkey at the same time. This also gives you more time to schmooze with your guests. Get dinner rolls, salad, drinks, ice, napkins and table decorations.

      On Thanksgiving day, prepare the rest of the food (especially the turkey) about five hours before you plan to eat, set the table and serve the meal.

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