Tips for Thanksgiving


Plan Thanksgiving | Thanksgiving Planning Tips

Take care of tasks early in the week.  “Much of the preparation for the Thanksgiving dinner can be completed the day before if the hostess plans carefully.  Some of the tasks can even be taken care of early in the week.  Make preparations early:

  • Table linen, china glass and silver.  Go over the china, glass, silver and table linen that you will need and be sure they are in readiness.  This should be done Monday or Tuesday because Wednesday is a busy day with its extra marketing and cooking for Thursday. 
  • Centerpiece. Decide on your centerpiece early in the week and order it. 
  • Staples like salt, pepper and sugar.  Replenish such staples as salt and sugar in order to relieve your grocer from too heavy deliveries at the last minute. 
  • Turkey.  Order your turkey or whatever you decide to serve a week before Thanksgiving.  This gives your butcher time to find exactly what you want and assures you the best.  Don’t forget to have the turkey or other fowl delivered to you drawn and cleaned.  The size of your family will undoubtedly influence your choice of ‘turkey.’  The small family may find chicken more suitable to its needs and the menu will be quite satisfactory in every way.”
(Sister Mary, “Thanksgiving Tips Offered to Holiday Cooks,” The Sheboygan Press, Sheboygan, Wisconsin, Friday, November 18, 1932, p. 8)


Thanksgiving is like playing Tetris.
You need to figure out every little space
and how to make it work
at every little block of time.

Ann Taylor Pittman,
Cooking Light senior food editor


 Set your table now.  “Set your table now. If you have idle children lying about the house, conscript them to do everything but the delicate tableware. This early start allows time to deal with a stained tablecloth or borrow anything that's missing. Serve takeout tonight and sausage-egg biscuits tomorrow morning to save the table and keep everybody out of the kitchen.” (Judith McGinnins, “Tips dish out day's workload,” Wichita Falls Times Record News, Wichita Falls, Texas, November 22, 2006, p. E6)

Plan some efficiency short-cuts for Thanksgiving Day.  “While the turkey is in the oven, concentrate on hearty stovetop dishes first and your cold dishes last. If you're doing a salad, place the dressing in the bottom of the serving bowl and set the greens on top without tossing, says Pittman. Then, seconds before serving, toss the salad, and voila! Your greens are fresh and perfectly seasoned.” (Ann Taylor Pittman, Cooking Light senior food editor cited in Amy Eisinger, “A New Yorker's Guide To Prepping For The Big Day,” New York Daily News, Brooklyn, New York, November 5, 2009, p. 49) 

Turkey Browning | How to brown a turkey | Browning a turkey...

For gorgeous golden burnished turkey skin.  “Brush the baking holiday turkey with rendered bacon fat and you will be rewarded with gorgeous golden skin with a down-home taste.” Turkey tips. (Food Network Kitchens, “Thanksgiving Tips: Condiments... great gravy tips... piecrust secrets,” Scripps Howard News Service, November 10, 2003) 

Thanksgiving Mashed Potatoes

Practice making mashed potatoes ahead of time.  "Practice making mashed potatoes ahead of time, reheating them in the microwave oven and seeing if you like them. If it's as good as you'd get in a buffet line, it's probably good enough for your Thanksgiving meal."  (Nathalie Dupree quoted in Joe Bonwich of The Post-Dispatch, “Kitchen Wisdom - Cooking Experts Share Tips And Tidbits At Food Show,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, St. Louis, Missouri, September 18, 2002, p. 1) 

Gravy for Thanksgiving | Thanksgiving Gravy Tips

Add mushroom soup to your gravy mix.  "My tip is, that I use a can of cream of mushroom soup, added to my gravy when its done: Makes it tastier and smoother."  -Connie Trovato, Mattydale, New York.  (“Readers Share Their Tips,” Syracuse Herald-Journal, Syracuse, New York, November 13, 1995, p. C7) 

Tips from Thanksgiving Pros

Let professionals do some of the work.  “Being a good host on Thanksgiving doesn't mean you have to cook every dish on the menu. . .[T]here's no shame in cobbling together your meal by letting the professionals do some of the work. Perhaps you make the sides and leave the turkey to a restaurant that's offering roasting services, or you roast the turkey and buy all the sides from your favorite gourmet market. Even if it's just the dessert that you farm out, there are plenty of top-notch bakeries in Seattle that are selling pies that will dazzle your guests.” (Hsiao-Ching Chou, P-I Food Editor, “Cobble, Cobble - Gourmet Shops Can Help You Assemble A Thanksgiving Dinner To Die For,” Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Seattle, Washington, November 16, 2005, p. E1) Click here to browse and choose where to order Thanksgiving dinner online for deliveries right to your doorstep.

Pay for convenience. “Buy sliced mushrooms, bagged salads, frozen chopped onions, even cooked potatoes (although we draw the line at instant). These are just ingredients; they will save time but will not change your recipe's outcome.” (Cathy Barber and Karen Elizabeth Watts, The Dallas Morning News, “Thanksgiving tips to gobble up,” Lincoln Journal Star, Lincoln, Nebraska, November 16, 2004, Section D, pp. 01-02) 

How much turkey per person?  How much turkey do I need?

“How much turkey should you buy?  Whether you purchase a frozen turkey, a fresh turkey, a turkey breast or drumsticks, the big question is: How much to buy?  Just figure on 1 pound of turkey per person. If the turkey is prestuffed, allow 1 1/4 pounds per person.  This will provide generous servings with enough left over for second-day dishes.” Turkey tips.  (Rhonda Schember,” Turkey tips, other tactics to make your feast fantastic,” Erie Times-News, Erie, Pennsylvania, November 16, 2005, Food & Recipes Section, p. 1)

Tips to Consider When You Plan Thanksgiving Dinner

Green Thanksgiving Gifts for the Next Generation

 Watch the thermostat.  “Watch the thermostat. With a houseful of people and every appliance running in the kitchen, you might get away with shaving off a few degrees to save some energy.” (Kelly Leahy, “Five Last Minute Thanksgiving Tips,” Green Daily, November 27, 2008)

Clearly mark your recycle bins.  “Clearly mark your recycle bins. The last thing you want to do is spend the evening picking bits of turkey and dressing out of your recyclables.” (Kelly Leahy, “Five Last Minute Thanksgiving Tips,” Green Daily, November 27, 2008)

Tips on Carving a Turkey

 Martha Stewart Tips for Thanksgiving Gravy USA, LLC