HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >

Discussion

Thanksgiving 2009 -- How early were you up to start cooking this morning?

  • 55
  • Share

just curious.

what did you cook first?

did you have a written list as a reminder?

do you have any special cooking "ritual"?

do you have helpers or are you alone (by choice) in the kitchen?

how many dishes are you making?

is turkey your primary meat -- or what?

are you trying any new dishes this year, if so, how did you find the idea or recipe?

for how many people are you cooking? at your place or somewhere else?

are you sad when everybody leaves, and all you have is leftovers? ;-).

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
Posting Guidelines | FAQs | Feedback
Cancel
  1. Pumpkin Pie, 3:30 am
    Cranberry sauce, 3:45 am
    Coffee, 4 am
    No ritual, just stumbled through.
    No written reminder, just dreamed about pie all night.
    Curious cats as "helpers", they always get up early.
    Happy Thanksgiving, alka!

    5 Replies
    1. re: bushwickgirl

      happy thanksgiving, bushwickgirl! give the kitties a snuggle for me!
      ps, where's your turkey? anytime i ever made chicken or poultry of any sort, my kitty sally -- from the instant i pulled the raw poultry from the fridge -- would turn into the kitchen shark, circling and peering up to see where she could snatch some goodies.

      are you having many folks over? i think i'll add that to my questions, as i'm still in my edit window.

      1. re: alkapal

        Ooh, thanks! The kitties luv snuggles.
        The turkey is at someone else's house this year, along with the rest of the folks.
        So if it's not a good meal, it's not my fault, LOL.
        Not necessarily a bad thing...
        Have a glorious day!

        1. re: bushwickgirl

          For 16 years, my dearly departed Siamese twins (kitties) would leap up on the stovetop between the burners Thanksgiving morning as soon as the turkey went in and twine themselves together, then went to sleep dreaming of the feast to come. It was so hot up there I don't know how they stood it (although they used to sleep on top of the radiator too) Anyway, there was no way we were sneaking any turkey meat past them. I think of them every Thanksgiving morning, and always will: they were so happy about turkey: my cats now are way to fat to fit up there or even to jump up to investigate.

          I've been getting up around 2 or 3AM all week, but on the other hand I'm usually conked out by 9:00 anyway. Cooking commenced at 5AM.

          I had alot of work related things I had to take care of earlier in the week, with local food pantry emergencies, also doing a dogsitting job on the side, so I didn't really get going with dinner until Wednesday. I was having actual anxiety nightmares a few nights in a row. Turkey always goes in when the Macys parade starts, but I didn't sit down to watch as much as usual, just glanced over that way. I made a few last minute cuts in the menu but believe me, no one noticed, there was way too much as always. I had to keep revamping my To Do list (mine goes hour by hour but I keep moving things up until it's too late for anymore).

          After the guests left, I put away whatever perishables were left out, checked on the dogs one last time, and came home to do the dishes (took two hours, SIL got in a snit because I told her not to put my knives in the dishwasher so she stopped helping). I like company, but I do love when they leave too.

          1. re: coll

            <<SIL got in a snit because I told her not to put my knives in the dishwasher so she stopped helping). I like company, but I do love when they leave too.>>

            Laughing in empathy. :)

        2. re: alkapal

          happy t-day everyone!

          i got up at 4:00 after going to bed at 12- i made cranberry/mandarin relish two days ago and made the mashed potatoes, Ina's spinach gratin (added red pepper flakes), GBC, corn, glazed orange ham, and corn bread muffins this morning. put the bacon wrapped turkey in at 7:30 and having 10 guests come over at 11:30.

          fingers are crossed that everything will taste fabulous... best tip was to set the table which i fretted over last night. hope everyone has a stellar day!

      2. Well, I'm not cooking everything today so got up at 8 am.

        I have a corn casserole and my dressing in the oven right now. The ham cooked overnight in the slow cooker with a pineapple and clove sauce. I made the pumpkin cheesecake and cranberry sauce on Monday. Les will be finished his deviled eggs in a bit and I will whip the cream for the pumpkin cheesecake.

        When I do Thanksgiving at home, I can usually be up by 6 and get everything done in time. I don't normally make anything ahead but make a schedule in advance so I have my timing right. I follow my schedule and everything works great!

        1. Because of my husband's work schedule, we did our big dinner last night. So today is a lazy day. Planning on taking a long walk this morning, then leftovers for lunch. Hooray for a lazy Thanksgiving!

          1. sitting with my coffee now at 9:30. Went & gave the horses a couple Thanksgiving carrots with their breakfast already. Made pumpkin & apple pies yesterday.

            I'll get started soon with the sausage for the stuffing. Going simple this year, it is just us (5) today. Turkey, stuffing, potato, & cranberry. Tomorrow is a family get-together here, so I am cooking a different meal for that.

            No written reminders, I do turkey often so it is all in my head. I am primarily alone in the kitchen, but my daughter (8) has asked to help, so I will get some company.

            I LOVE the leftovers!

            1. Happy Turkey Day, everyone! :)

              First cooked a pound of Jimmy Dean--using some for a breakfast scramble and the rest for a delicious Grand Marnier apricot stuffing made with last night's cornbread. I have a photocopy of a page from an old colleague that looks like it comes from a Sheila Lukens cookbook (if you have one of her cookbooks, you'd recognize the format). I found the recipe here, too.
              http://www.gourmet.org/recipes/stuffi...
              I skipped the liver, heart and almonds. Stuffing's all set and ready to go.

              I have my list of recipes/inspiration in a folder (so sort of a list).

              The ritual is not a cooking-related, but the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade is on TV and I can't wait to see the new Pillsbury Dough Boy balloon. It will make me think a giant version of FoodFuser is flying down the streets of Manhattan. ;

              )

              Yup, turkey is primary this year. Trying a new recipe for us from Tyler Florence:
              http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ty...

              I made a different stuffing but am psyched to baconize our bird! What's not to love?

              I like watching Tyler's Ultimate on Saturday mornings. His "Pork Thanksgiving" episode inspired today's riff on mashed potatoes. I can't go whole hog (whole cow?!) with all the heavy cream his recipe calls for, but am very much on board with his inclusion of coarse ground mustard...will boil Yukon Golds with garlic and thyme in chicken stock (instead of the recommended cream and milk) and will add sour cream to the mix.

              Other new recipes this year:
              http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/al...

              Old standby--crinkle cut carrots, already peeled and cut and ready to cook.

              Cooking at home for four.

              Mom is baking apple pie this morning and will be bringing her own cranberry orange relish, both of which are big favorites of mine.

              I'm happy when the day is done and we can kick back and relax and zone out with some old movie on TV and the real kattyeyes on my lap. Oh, and my feline alarm clock gets me up early each and every morning...I managed to grab a few extra winks and hop outta bed at 6:30.

              alkasis, no fair asking all the questions and not sharing your answers with us. ; Whatchoo up to this morning?

              24 Replies
              1. re: kattyeyes

                sistakat, as an inveterate insomniac, i was up all through the night. create tv, law and order, and usa network shows (like the new "white collar" -- yum) keep me busy. i played it easy this year, and mr. alka and i went down to the national gallery of art to take advantage of a light early holiday attendance. we had our coffee from the gallery's cafe, in front of the big subterranean cascading fountain that graces the underground corridor between the east and west galleries. http://images.google.com/imgres?imgur... bagels are a deal at $1.65, but cranberry muffins at $4 a pop are not!

                after leaving, we went to harris teeter grocery, where i was looking for a pre-cooked turkey breast deal, which i found. i also bought at a super deep discount a 12-1/2 pounder fresh whole turkey for $3.08! and i also bought two fresh turkey breasts at similarly crazy markdowns. they're all in the freezer for later. i also got a deal on some beef filets. (i love that meat dept!).

                we had my cornbread stuffing and some buttered broccoli. that's it. oh, i also made a cream gravy with a glace de veau i had from williams-sonoma, and i put the turkey breasts in that to warm through. we had no dessert, although i have some apples that i may stew up today and make my mom's easy cobbler. http://www.chow.com/recipes/13522

                so now, i can make turkey and dressing sandwiches -- with cranberry jelly from ocean spray (yes, i AM an ocean spray jellied cran fan)! yip yip yip yahoo!

                ~~~~~~
                ps, sk, go to trader joe's and get their cranberry covered chevre log, and buy the tamari "savory" crackers to smear the cheese on. man, is it good.

                1. re: alkapal

                  What a gorgeous way to start the day!

                  I will eventually post my pictures as I am thrilled with how my bacon-wrapped bird looked and tasted (NOTHING like what someone teased was a "Leatherman" looking turkey that keeps popping up on the right-hand panel of these boards--I think that other turkey looks like an armadillo with its turkey banding).

                  I would like to make turkey quesadillas with stuffing--a stolen idea from one of our favorite hometown spots, Coyote Blue.
                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6378...

                  Cran-covered chevre sounds terrific--thanks for the tip for it and the crackers!

                  I would love to hear if anyone deep-fried a turkey. I'm fascinated by this idea. I also love a virtual visit to everyone else's tables, so I hope the reports continue to roll in.

                  1. re: kattyeyes

                    we have deep fried in the past. it's the best!

                    ps, the crackers are called "savory thins" and are in a plastic covered 1/2 cardboard sleeve.

                    1. re: kattyeyes

                      We've done deep fried turkeys before and it's actually my favorite - cooks quicker, frees up the oven, and juicy and moist with nice crispy skin. For me, it's just easier to roast (and less expensive with the cost of peanut oil), or I would do it more often for Thanksgiving.

                  2. re: kattyeyes

                    k-e, I'm curious. Why do you and others use Jimmy Dean? Do your markets not carry bulk sausage? Or is there something in particular you like about JD? It seems to get mentioned on occasion. I'm not a sausage-snob (well, a bit actually) but using that for a really special meal wouldn't have been my first choice. You're such a good cook that I figured you were the right one to ask. Tx, kiddo.

                    1. re: c oliver

                      I like the flavor and consistency of Jimmy Dean. Plenty of our local markets carry bulk sausage (I live in an area where Italian roots run deep), but I always use JD for both stuffing and biscuits 'n gravy.

                      1. re: kattyeyes

                        it is lean, too -- leaner than bulk sausages (in general).

                        1. re: alkapal

                          More pics!
                          * plated turkey
                          * Alton Brown's Brussels sprouts - I substituted tart Michigan cherries for cranberries. Total keeper recipe!
                          * Ma's apple pie
                          * April Katt gazes up at the dining room light, having inspected the table to ensure all is in its proper place. She and I wish you all a pawsatively purrfect holiday season with all your favorite people and foods! :)

                           
                           
                           
                           
                          1. re: kattyeyes

                            thanks, katty eyes. it looks like a feast. (i see your spoonula in action with those brussel sprouts. ;-).

                            1. re: kattyeyes

                              That's a good looking pie and April Katt is simply gorgeous!

                              1. re: kattyeyes

                                Your pie is a work of art! Wondering if the cherries you used are dried ones or not?

                                1. re: karykat

                                  I will be glad to convey everyone's compliments to my mom, the pie baker. :) It's nice to share her artistry with a larger audience than usual.

                                  For the Brussels sprouts, yes, dried cherries. I like them in salads, too...and as a cookie add-in!

                                  1. re: kattyeyes

                                    Are dried cherries at least a little tart?

                                    1. re: c oliver

                                      See original entry--they are "tart Michigan cherries" by name, so yes, they are indeed tart and quite tasty. :)

                                      1. re: c oliver

                                        You can buy both dried sweet (Bing) cherries and dried sour (tart) cherries, though the latter are a bit harder to find/less common in stores.

                                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                          It's the funniest thiing about the tart Michigan cherries. Of all places, they are easily found in my neck of the woods in one of our discount, no-frills supermarkets, Price Rite. I first picked them up when I made my crazy Magical Piggy Bars and have kept them on hand for salads, oatmeal and general snacking ever since.

                                2. re: alkapal

                                  Jimmy Dean is the best, my husband is very unhappy if I serve anything else. It comes in bulk one pound tubes, and that comes in sage or maple flavors besides normal, so no problem there. Oh wait I forgot they downsized the tubes to 12 z
                                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tiu8gt...

                                  1. re: coll

                                    i think only the "special" flavors like maple are 12 oz -- as i recall they always were..
                                    the regular pork sausage is still 16 oz. https://jimmydean.com/sitecontent/sau...
                                    i just bought a roll the other day, too. (i'd grab it to verify, but it is hiding in the freezer, behind the turkey and two turkey breasts that i got on a super deal.). the sausage freezes very well.

                                    btw, i've tried the "natural" variety, and didn't notice much -- if any -- difference from the regular.

                                    1. re: alkapal

                                      alkasis, that's correct. The reduced fat version is also downsized:
                                      https://jimmydean.com/sitecontent/sau...
                                      but bold, regular...those are all still 16:
                                      https://jimmydean.com/sitecontent/sau...

                                      Bold kinda makes me chuckle. Seems like a strong adjective for a roll of sausage. :) But I do like it! Bold is right up there with sassy for me. :)

                                      1. re: alkapal

                                        i usually pay $2.25-$2.50 on sale -- per one-pound roll.

                                    2. re: alkapal

                                      Yes, I don't buy breakfast sausage often and I don't put it in my turkey stuffing, but Jimmy Dean has remained very lean over the years--quality has not diminished as so many products' have--and size of package is still (hold onto yourself). ..one pound, ta-da! Major accomplishment also since so many package sizes have decreased and price has gone up or remained the same. JD is still a gold standard in my book.

                                    3. re: kattyeyes

                                      Thanks. For the very first time, we went out for dinner due to some physical limitations of my MIL. It was better than a lot of homecooked meals we've had and the dressing was a standout. It had sausage that was actually distinguishable from the breading and also walnuts. My family never used such items but I'm going to try to recreate this. And it was SO moist and perhaps that came from a not so lean sausage. I don't care for stuffing just dressing and this was the best.

                                    4. re: c oliver

                                      My mom always uses the jimmy dean maple sausage in her stuffing, always turns out great.

                                    5. re: kattyeyes

                                      Sending a big THANK YOU to Tyler Florence for his Maple-Roasted Turkey recipe. I cook quite a bit, but up till this year, had never made my own turkey. IT WAS FABULOUS, tender, infused with maple-y bacon flavor, visually stunning.

                                      Here are before and after pics of the bird along with the stuffing and mashed potatoes. I boiled the Yukon Golds in stock and milk and added the "potato water" back into the spuds as I mashed them with butter, sour cream and mustard. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!

                                       
                                       
                                       
                                       
                                    6. up at 5:30, but that was to go for a run:) the streets are so peaceful today it was really nice...

                                      Did a lot of prep work already since this is my first Thanksgiving, luckily only 4 people and I'm actually feeling like I can do this...I did take a tip and made a nice prep / to-do list and it has been really helpful.. I think so far the key is being organized and to really like being in the kitchen - I am in the kitchen by myself, but I do prefer it this way.

                                      My menu is turkey (in a bag), stuffing, gravy (already made from parts, etc...), mashed, green bean caserole, creamed onions (already made), grandma's cranberry sauce, 2 types of bread, choreg (armenian bread / roll) and a cranberry bread...

                                      Apps are brie in puffed pastry and shrimp cocktail.

                                      Dessert is apple pie, ice cream and world peace cookies just to throw in some chocolate!

                                      Happpy thanksgiving and thanks for all the great thanksgiving day advice I've been reading over the past few weeks!

                                      PS - looking forward to my own set of leftovers this year! and I love to make turkey soup from the carcass!

                                      1. Up at 5:00...Everything is prepped...Just waiting on the Count Down....

                                        All Systems Go...Ready For Launch!!

                                        Have Fun & Enjoy!!!

                                        1. I am visiting MIL, and helping with food for 33 1/2! She was up at 6.Over the last few days, salted a turkey ( Frozen butterball...oops...), In the oven this AM at 10. Made cornbread from scratch, then the CI cornbread with sausage stuffing...overnighted in a custard. In the oven when the turkey comes out. Butternut squash roasted for soup. Hope to finish it soonm. Turkey stock from legs a few days ago...hope to start gravy soon.

                                          1. Hooray, we slept in! I made my pecan pie and my buttermilk refrigerator roll dough yesterday, along with a cranapple-pecan cake that was devoured at a gathering last night. About 10:30 this morning I took out the dough and the meat (we had a pork loin), started simmering dried fruits in port to stuff said pork loin, and started assembling the veggies. My sister-in-law was my sous chef and dishwasher, and everything was very relaxed. We sat down to eat around 1:30 or so with a minimum of hassle. It was great.
                                            Riley says, "Now it's nap time!"

                                             
                                            1. 10 a.m. for me. Took the turkey out for 20-30 minutes, and then stuffed and had it in the oven by 10:30 a.m. for 2:00 take-out time (17-1/2 pounds at 325 with convection).
                                              http://twitpic.com/r3s1s

                                              First thing I made after that was the sweet potato and chipotle gratin, and then the brie in puff pastry appetizer. Everything else had been done by the night before - cranberry sauce, gravy, cream sauce for pearl onions and peas, pumpkin pie, cheesecake, etc.

                                              I do use a written list to keep things organized so the kitchen is clean when people arrive and I can sit down and enjoy cocktails and appetizers until the turkey comes out.

                                              What I made for 6:
                                              Hot Mulled cider
                                              Dip and crudites
                                              Brie and cranberry sauce/marsala/rosemary/cherries in puff pastry with crackers

                                              Turkey with herb butter, gravy, mashed potatoes
                                              Sweet potato gratin with chipotle cream (Bobby Flay - new recipe this year. GREAT). http://twitpic.com/r3txi
                                              The same Grand Marnier/apricot/sausage stuffing KattyEyes mentions above - It's from "Silver Palate: Good Times". I also add chestnuts, fresh herbs, & Bell's seasoning.
                                              Peas and pearl onions in chardonnay cream sauce
                                              Store-bought biscuits
                                              Cranberry sauce with marsala/cherries/rosemary

                                              Plate: http://twitpic.com/r3sfc

                                              Brandied Pumpkin Pie
                                              Cherry Cheesecake

                                              No helpers (I wish), though my husband is on clean-up duty as I prep all week, which I really appreciate.

                                              Small group, but I'm tired this year (busy work week), so actually it's nice everyone has left and we're going to settle in with a movie and eggnog cocktails. http://twitpic.com/qxs0y

                                              9 Replies
                                              1. re: Rubee

                                                Rubee, I see your sweet potato gratin was from Bobby Flay's "Bold American Food"--how is that book? I've never even heard of it until now.

                                                To answer the OP, it was just a small T-Day for us. Last minute stay at home, so, all very relaxed and low key. Nothing new or exotic. I think I woke up about 7am. We sat around and read the paper and had our coffee, then, around 9am I guess my husband went to White Castle for sliders for stuffing, and got some breakfast croissants and a banh mi (lunch) from the Vietnamese restaurant up the street. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6697...

                                                I started cooking at 9am

                                                Pumpkin pie (just the recipe off the libby's can, plus my own adjustments
                                                )http://www.verybestbaking.com/recipes...

                                                Assembled the dry and wet (except eggs) for Bobby Flay's Blue Corn Muffins, but with yellow and white corn meal from our CSA to set aside for baking right after the turkey comes out of the oven and is resting.
                                                http://www.starchefs.com/chefs/BFlay/...

                                                Then I prepped the brussels sprouts using a recipe on Epicurious, except I used some diced and sauteed Canadian Bacon instead of pecans
                                                http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                                Then my husband came home, and we had croissants and watched the Macy's Day parade.

                                                Eventually, did the stuffing and put the turkey in the oven.

                                                Then we did mashed potatoes.

                                                Once the turkey was out, my husband did the gravy, I put the corn muffins in, sauteed the brussels sprouts and, um, plated the "canberry" sauce.

                                                Then clean up and James Bond-a-thon. Can't wait for leftovers tomorrow!

                                                ~TDQ

                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                  Slider stuffing? Did he invent it? Very creative. What else goes in it? And how did it turn out?

                                                  We had two dinners, one very quiet one with one side of the family and another a bit larger on the other side of the family. Between SO and I we made dry brined turkey, parsnips and carrots, make ahead gravy that turned out great, mushroom bread pudding and pies. I didn't think I would possibly be able to eat anything at the second dinner -- but somehow did. Everything was great.

                                                  1. re: karykat

                                                    Ha! No, he didn't invent it, but it's been his tradition for many years. The recipe was the November recipe in a free White Castle calendar he got once. It turns out pretty good, actually, although it's a little mushy. But, we still love it and always have to do it.

                                                    Here's the recipe: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/3435...

                                                    Your mushroom bread pudding was a savory one? Very intriguing.

                                                    ~TDQ

                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                      This is too wonderful :) I grew up on Krystal burgers but now have to settle for the 6-to-a-boz WC burgers. I love them. That WC website is amazing. I'll definitely have to try some of those recipes. AND, since a lot of them call for 10 burgers and they come 6 to a box, well, I'll have to eat them as a little appetizer, right? Can;t wait.

                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                        The mushroom pudding comes from the guy whose done the Herbfarm cookbooks. It came from the second book, I think. Jerry Traunfeld. We've had so many great things from those books.

                                                        The mushroom pudding is a little less rich than some things like it, which is good when there's a ton of other stuff on the table. The first time my guy made it, it seemed a little watery to me and weepy, so I told him to add an extra egg next time. Which he has done since then and it's been perfect every time. Mushroom pudding leftovers on the menu for tonight!

                                                        1. re: karykat

                                                          Does this look like the recipe, karykat? http://www.cookstr.com/recipes/mushro...

                                                          c oliver, my husband (as a bachelor, long before he met me) once had a party where every dish was WC. Interesting times, I'm sure.

                                                          ~TDQ

                                                      2. re: karykat

                                                        Some years ago we had a Thanksgiving guest who had had to eat three dinners: one where she worked, a residential treatment center for troubled children where staff was asked to be present for the occasion; the second with her mother, who insisted; and the third at our house with her sweeheart. After the third she made a wise comment we have never forgotten: "There comes a time when it feels better to keep eating than to stop".

                                                      3. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                        Hi DQ.

                                                        Mmmm...I wish my guests liked brussels sprouts. Maybe next year I'll make them just for myself. Actually, that's what I did with the sweet potatoes - halved the recipe since I'm the only one who eats them. They're so good though and the recipe is so simple, I'll be doing them again next year.

                                                        I actually bought the book because a few years ago Nyleve was recommending the recipe (link below). It's one of his earlier books, from 1994, and actually has a lot of great-sounding recipes (especially seafood), though I have yet to try one. After flipping through it this week, though, I'm planning on making the Poblano and Potato Hash for breakfast this weekend, and the Ancho Risotto Cakes with lobster stock next week, maybe as a side dish to grilled fish. He also has a Sweet Potato and Chipotle Soup with crispy tortillas that might be a good use of the leftover gratin.

                                                        Sweet Potato Gratin
                                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/3222...

                                                        I should add one problem when I made this - I pureed the heavy cream and chipotle in a blender and ended up with whipped cream! I had to add some milk to thin it out.

                                                        1. re: Rubee

                                                          Oh, I'm intrigued about the poblano and potato hash. Thank you for the link. The great thing about the brussels sprouts is that they can be done stove top.

                                                          ~TDQ

                                                    2. I did something new this year, which was a winner because it was both delicious and a nice, bright contrast to the starches and turkey and gravy richness. Green beans blanched and shocked, then sauteed with garlic in lemon olive oil and tossed with parsley, lemon zest, and lemon juice. This might become a regular thing for Thanksgiving. Essentially, the ingredients of gremolata, but cooked garlic. My other contribution this year was cranberry sauce (cranberries, sugar, OJ, black raspberry vinegar, orange zest), made yesterday. When I've done the whole dinner, I've never started super early, because for me/my family it's a late afternoon or early evening meal, not midday.

                                                      1. I was up at 7:30, but I didn't go to bed until 1:15, after putting a pie in the oven at 12:15. And I'm a little crazy about Thanksgiving, years ago I started out with a handwritten list, now I have an elaborate spreadsheet to keep me on schedule. The only new thing this year were different versions of classics, a new way to do sweet potatoes, a new recipe for oyster dressing, a new recipe for monkey bread. They were all declared winners.

                                                        1. what did you cook first?

                                                          I got up at 8am, stuffed the turkey and had it in the oven at 9:30.

                                                          ***

                                                          did you have a written list as a reminder?

                                                          Always!!!

                                                          ***

                                                          do you have any special cooking "ritual"?

                                                          Not anything I'd call a "ritual" but I have patterns and schedules that have worked for me in the past so I repeat them.

                                                          ***

                                                          do you have helpers or are you alone (by choice) in the kitchen?

                                                          I am alone very much by choice in the kitchen. I'm not a delegator and with a small galley kitchen I'm not helped much by anyone standing in my flight path.

                                                          ***

                                                          how many dishes are you making?

                                                          We had 5 appetizers, a soup course, turkey/stuffing/gravy/cranberries with 5 sides, dinner rolls, 3 desserts with 2 ice creams and I do it all from scratch over the course of a week.

                                                          •••

                                                          is turkey your primary meat -- or what?

                                                          Turkey is our only meat.

                                                          ***

                                                          are you trying any new dishes this year, if so, how did you find the idea or recipe?

                                                          My family likes our Thanksgiving tradition so we always have all the old favorites. Then I add one or two things and I always have one Wild Card dessert. This year we had roasted carrots as an addition and liked them so well we'll add them permanently. I chose them when I saw them on The PIoneer Woman Cooks. We also had an elaborate 3-layered pumpkin dessert that was good but not outstanding. It was the Wild Card so no need to repeat it but we can say we've had it. It was a Sherry Yard dessert that I've had in my database for a while. Can't remember when I got it but I'm sure I kept it because I have loved her recipes in the past.

                                                          ***

                                                          for how many people are you cooking? at your place or somewhere else?

                                                          I cooked in my kitchen; we dined at our house. We had the family and 3 guests for a total of 8.

                                                          ***

                                                          are you sad when everybody leaves, and all you have is leftovers? ;-).

                                                          One of our dinner guests is here for the long weekend so we haven't had a parting yet. What we've got is extra help eating up the leftovers. We've had Thanksgiving buffet all day today. The other guest live in town so we'll see them again before long I'm sure.

                                                          ***

                                                          1. This year, I slept in till 9:15 because I'd stayed up till 1 a.m. getting the gravy, dressing and cranberry sauce made and cooled. I made the rolls, proofed them for about two hours in the oven, then wrapped and refrigerated them. I blanched the green beans and par-roasted the mushrooms, then wrapped them in bacon and put them in a plastic bag for roasting Thursday. Sliced the butternut squash and made the nut/bread crumbs for the gratin.

                                                            Day of, I made the potatoes around noon and parked them in the slow-cooker. Pulled the turkey out of the fridge at 1:30, and put it in the oven at 2:30. Rolls, green bean purses, dressing and dressing went in the oven for baking or rewarming when the turkey came out to rest. I even had time to make a second gravy while rewarming the previous day's.

                                                            Least-stressful holiday meal I've ever made by a long shot. I will never again try to do everything a la minute again, no matter what.

                                                            And for the record, the crockpot mashed potatoes are genius.

                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: dmd_kc

                                                              Re crockpot mashed potatoes, you are SO right. I got this idea a year ago from CH and it's the best. Didn't lose a thing, did it?

                                                              1. re: dmd_kc

                                                                When you made the mashed potatoes, did you undercook them slightly?

                                                                When we have a big crowd (and can't spare any oven space), we often cook the sweet potatoes right in the crockpot.

                                                                ~TDQ

                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                  Absolutely no undercooking -- I made them exactly as I wanted them to be served.

                                                                  And yes, c oliver, they were perfect, indistinguishable from fresh.