The Most Valuable Tips for Planning a Big Holiday Meal

Plan ahead and get organized.

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If you have every held a large holiday meal you will likely remember the last minute dashes to the grocery store for crucial ingredients or, worse, to the department store for a critical piece of cooking equipment. Even if you are extremely well-organized the trip to the grocery is probably unavoidable, almost everything else can be managed if you think it through ahead of time and have a plan.

If you are hosting Thanksgiving, now – 2 weeks ahead of Thanksgiving Eve – is the perfect time to start planning and organizing. You are probably thinking … “Why 2 weeks ahead of Thanksgiving Eve?” The answer is that you need to be well into your meal preparation by the time Thanksgiving Eve rolls around.

These two weeks will give you time to shop for and stock up on ingredients without battling the last-minute crowds. To do this you need to set your menu including exact decisions about brining and seasoning your turkey; any specialty items required for side dish recipes; and any themed cocktail or beverage you might be serving.

Getting organized starts with building menu lists, ingredient lists and a plan for how these items will be prepared and served in a 36-hour window. I know … 36-hours seems like an enormous amount of time to prepare a meal. Is it? Really? Experienced hosts and hostesses will tell you otherwise.

For the tech savvy cook, pick up the Thanksgiving: A Bon Appetit Manual for the iPad and iPhone.

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