Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >
Nov 20, 2012 07:26 AM

How do you calm your Thanksgiving cooking anxiety?

Hi- So, I am hosting T Day again as usual but this year for a bigger group with overnight guests. I have my menu planned, food bought, cooking schedule planned. But, I am a nervous wreck. I can't sleep and wake up around 3 a.m with worries about food, making endless mental lists in my head. I agonize over every dish, to be sure it is perfect. I am always afraid i have forgotten some necessary ingredient or will overcook or ruin a dish. I wish I could enjoy the cooking, but I can't, I'm such an anxious mess. How do you chill out and not stress about guests or major holiday meal prep?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
      1. re: baseballfan

        I use gin, but it's the same general principal.

        1. I know exactly how you feel.

          I have to admit, for many years, I felt the same way. Anxiety and worry about cooking this dinner was an overwhelming endeavor. Many years later, 34 years to be exact, I've finally found the magic answer for me and it seems to have come naturally. I realized this meal, the coming together of family and the cooking that is reflective of my *gift* to them, should not be a hardship. Every dish I make has a story behind it for us, it's familiar and they look forward to it and somehow it makes it fun with lots of love put into it. I love setting a beautiful table and rising early on Thanksgiving when everyone else is asleep. When I sit down and watch them I know this year marks another year of the blessings we have. I've turned this preparation into a more calm and reflective time....

          1 Reply
          1. re: latindancer

            Very well said, Latindancer. And I am experiencing a similar peace this year, my 35th (or so) of cooking Thanksgiving dinners for my family. However, I definitely remember many years when I was completely stressed out about making the "perfect" holiday, and felt the way the OP describes. I am thankful this year for the experience of many, many Thanksgivings, and the life lessons they have given me. One of the most important lessons I have learned is to keep the main holiday meal simple and traditional...(that works for my family, anyway)..because I have always wanted to try new and different recipes at Thanksgiving, and that never seems to go over really well with my family. They want the tried and true. So now....I give them what they want for Thanksgiving dinner, and try out new stuff over the long holiday weekend. Fresh Brussels sprouts with bacon, parmesan and cream, and pumpkin bread pudding with spicy caramel apple sauce are a couple of my plans for this weekend:)

          2. 1. Extreme levels of organization (think Excel spreadsheets). Mental lists are a recipe for disaster, at least as far as my memory is concerned. Write EVERYTHING down. Save on the computer for next year, and make notes after the event to remind yourself of little things that go right/wrong.
            2. Do it for a dozen+ years.
            3. Sauvignon Blanc.

            I am cool as a cucumber :-D

            1. I put off thinking about it. F'rinstance, this year it was Saturday when I realized, 'Oh yeah, Thansgiving this week.'