A Minimal Thanksgiving: 10 Things to Check and Clean Before the Big Day
In just a few short weeks, we know that we’re going to be cooking the biggest meal of the year at our home - the big T-day feast.
We want to make sure that we are able to spend a lot of time with our guests and enjoying the day, so we do as much as we can to make that a priority - that’s the focusing part of minimalism on what is important.
Secondly, we put food in high importance - but not at the expense of spending time with our guests. That’s why we are doing as much planning that we can to ensure that things go easily and smoothly.
We’ve been cooking Thanksgiving for a couple years, and over the years we’ve learned a lot about what is important to ensure that the cooking goes without a hitch!
One of the things that can really help is to ensure that all your supplies - your tools, your armamentarium - are all prepared and ready to go. It really helps your cooking to go smoothly and makes your life a lot stressful.
Now, you may not use all of these or own all of these, and that’s okay! But if you do have them, now would be a great time to get them out and make sure they’re all cleaned and ready to go prior to Thanksgiving.
Check your silverware. Do you have enough for your guests? Depending on your number of guests, you may have to add more silverware to make sure everyone has utensils.
Additionally, check if you’re using actual silver if they need to be polished and cleaned. There’s nothing worse than setting the table the day of, only to quickly have to polish a pile of silverware.
Do you have enough for everyone to have glasses? Remember too that if you’re having additional drinks (like red wine) that you’ll have to account for those too.
We do a quick check to ensure that the glassware is clean and spotless - especially those glasses in the back that you don’t use regularly that can be a dust magnet! A quick run in the dishwasher takes care of anything that needs to be cleaned of course.
3. Serving dishes
We like to do a dry-run prior to Thanksgiving to ensure that we have everything that we need for serving dishes. Make a list of your entrees, side dishes, appetizers and desserts to make sure that you have everything you need.
4. Turkey roasting pan
Since most people only use the turkey roasting pan for Thanksgiving (although it can be used for everything from prime rib to roasting a large quantity of vegetables) it’s important to make sure it’s ready to go for the bird. Give it a quick wash with plenty of hot water and soap if it’s looking a little bit dusty.
5. The gravy boat
We don’t have a gravy boat, opting instead for a small saucepot and ladle that can easily be reheated on the stove, but make sure that the gravy boat is clean and accounted for so your guests can serve up the gravy in style.
6. Dessert plates and stands
Depending on how big your dessert display is going to be, you may want to ensure that you have the desserts set off to a completely different area from the main food. I personally think that a pecan or pumpkin pie on a nice cake stand is a very easy way to make your Thanksgiving feel a little more elegant.
On a more personal tip, we find that our dessert stands have a tendency to be chipped due to their awkward shape in storage. Check over your dessert stands to ensure that they’re in good working order!
If you’re using cloth napkins (and you should) then now is a great time to sort through your napkins and choose the one you will use for Thanksgiving. Check them over for any stains or unraveling hems, and then ensure they are washed and pressed and tucked away ahead of time. That way, you just have to pull them out for the big day.
8. Pie dishes,
We are big pie fans in our house, but only on Thanksgiving for the most part - aside from the occasional quiche or apple pie with gruyere baked into the crust in the summer, we don’t use our pie pans much. Give them a once-over to ensure that they’re clean and ready to go.
9. The oven
The worst possible smell on Thanksgiving is the smell of burning.
I remember distinctly when I turned on the oven, only to freak out that there was the smell of burning. I wrenched open the door to be greeted with a cloud of foul-smelling smoke that made me cough and my eyes water.
As it turns out, there had been a bit of batter from a previous muffin baking experience that had stuck to the floor of the oven - and only when I had cranked up the oven had it decided to vaporize.
Make sure your oven is clean - use the cleaning sequence, which is usually pretty low-maintenance - to ensure that it’s ready for the big day.
10. Baking supplies
If you’re doing baking (like us) then it’s important to make sure you have all the ingredients on hand. Check your recipes, ensure you have the ingredients needed including the less frequently utilized things - baking powder, cream of tartar, and the other random items. You’ll thank me for not having to run out to the store last minute with flour all over your face and still wearing your apron.