What You Should Do Three Weeks Before Thanksgiving (and Why You Need To Start Extra Early This Year)

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It is, as you have probably noticed, the first of November, which gives anyone who celebrates American Thanksgiving exactly 24 days to prepare for The Big Day. This isn’t a tiny amount of days, but it isn’t an excessively large amount either—especially this year.

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This year is a little calmer on the pandemic front, but those supply chain issues we’ve all been hearing so much about threaten to make shopping a little more stressful (and expensive). Don’t panic, and resist the urge to hoard—the food will be there, on the shelves and in the freezer aisle. But you might have to go to a few additional stores, or pay an extra dollar or two for some of your Turkey Day staples. Luckily, time is slightly on your side, and doing a little shopping now can help you spread additional costs over the entire month.

Here’s what you should be doing this week to prepare for the fourth Thursday of November.

Finalize your lists

There are three main lists you need to make right now: Your guest list, your menu (with backup dishes, in case you truly cannot find certain foods or they’re just too expensive), and your shopping list (with backup ingredients).

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Your headcount is important, as it will inform how much you buy, and how much food you cook. A holiday orphan or two at the last minute is no big deal, but try to nail down your guest list as much as you can, including plus-ones, pandemic babies, and new boyfriends. Count the heads, then open your cabinets and make sure you have enough plates, glasses, flatware, etc. If this is your first year hosting, make sure you have serving platters (for the bird), roasting pans, casserole dishes, and plenty of wine glasses.

Next, write out your menu—including drinks, snacks, and desserts—and figure out who is bringing what. Write a backup dish next to each menu item, in case your original plan is foiled by “the supply chain.” Run your eyes over the menu once more, and make a note of the pots, pans, and serving utensils you will need next to each dish. Finally, make two shopping lists: One for your ideal menu, and one for backup dishes. Take both lists and highlight (or circle) the non-perishables and foods that can be frozen, then get ready to shop.

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This is a great week to do your first round of shopping. Before you do anything else: Figure out your turkey. Whether you’re buying a frozen Butterball from a big box store or ordering a heritage bird from a local farm, do it right now. If you’re picking up your bird later this month, make sure you factor in thaw time (about four hours per pound). How much turkey should you buy? At least

1 1/2 pounds per guest, but I usually do

2 pounds per guest to make sure I have ample leftovers. (If you’re going to go through all that trouble to cook a giant bird, you should get more than one or two meals out of it.)

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In addition to the bird, you should go ahead and get the following:

  • Canned and boxed ingredients, including (but not limited to) pumpkin, canned cranberry sauce, and broth or stock.

  • Shelf-stable ingredients, like crispy fried onions, macaroni, and all of your pantry items, such as flour, oil, shortening, sugar, and salt (especially if you are planning to do any brining).

  • Frozen foods and ingredients (like that turkey) or anything that freezes well, like fresh cranberries, bags of frozen vegetables, butter, emergency pre-made pie crusts, cheese, and even whole onions.

  • Serving platters, serving utensils, flatware, wine glasses, casserole dishes, and plates. Skip Target and Sur La Table and hit up your local thrift stores and restaurant supply stores, both of which are extremely cost-efficient.

  • Drinks, including soft drinks, liquor, and wine, but especially booze, which is going to be the hardest to find, due to a glass bottle shortage.

  • Toilet paper, especially if you have people staying with you. No need to go crazy here, but hiding a few extra rolls in a closet can save your ass (literally).

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If you can’t find a particular ingredient, you can order it online, check back the next week, or move on to one of your substitute menu items and buy the ingredients you need for the sub.

Don’t be an asshole

The dreaded supply chain issues offers a real opportunity for people to be the absolute worst, but you can be prepared without being an asshole. Snagging an extra can of cranberry sauce for leftover sandwiches is smart, but resist the urge to buy a dozen “just in case” or “to share with your friends.”

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If you feel pressured to “make up” for last year’s Turkey Day by executing a flawless menu this year, please keep calm, and remember that Thanksgiving is less about finding shallots for the perfect green bean casserole and more about being thankful to be with your loved ones. That’s always been the case, but it feels especially true this year. Don’t re-traumatize yourself in the pursuit of a turkey dinner, which will be delicious no matter what you serve it with.

   

Source : https://lifehacker.com/what-to-do-this-week-to-prepare-for-thanksgiving-and-w-1847975430

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