Saturday, November 17, 2007

I Plan to Plan My Plan

This time of year, I actually get a little bit organized. I probably need to stress the little bit part. My closet still is unorganized. My winter and summer clothes are all out in various places in the house. My home office looks like a filing cabinet exploded in it. You get the point.

On Thanksgiving, everyone comes to my house. We have a group that includes our kids, grandkids, parents, friends, ex-spouses (MrWurdi's and mine) and their new spouses (just MrWurdi's because my-ex hasn't remarried), ex-step-children (when they're available) who are counted among the ones we gave birth to but for the sake of this post and clarification we'll call them that and anyone else who doesn't have other plans. We usually have between twelve and twenty people and I love it. With that large a crowd, my normal winging it for meals has to take a backseat to my rather analytical side.

I have a spreadsheet (See Figure 1.). It lists all the food items - broken down by category; i.e., appetizer, main meal, dessert. It lists the serving dish that will be used to serve it and any special preparation requirements (stuff I might forget) or the recipe itself. The final column is the list of grocery items I need to pick up at the store. Then, it's shaded if someone else is bringing that dish.

Figure One. Anal-Retentive Spreadsheet

I'm working on the timeline. There are several things I can make or start making on Wednesday. With the oven being used for the turkey, I need to plan for what needs to go in it the minute the turkey comes out. I need to figure out what I can put in the toaster oven. I have to remember to brine the turkey (I'll probably be doing a post on this later in the week. I'm a brine-pusher. It makes the turkey so flippin' good). That's not something you can do at the last minute.

I'm also pairing wine with each course. My mom will try it and might have a glass or two, my dad might put down his beer for a taste, MrWurdi will taste it and proclaim, "It tastes like wine!" and I'm hoping someone (ehem... you know who you are) will be here who might appreciate the fact that I thought about this.

My mother has agreed to make the bread dressing because MrWurdi loves it (as does -ehem-) and will be preparing a few other things that she absolutely excels at making. I'm handling the rest of the food. I'm so looking forward to it, even if we are having cranberry sauce from a can and the green bean casserole. There are some traditions you just can't break. I will be adding a few new things, including the Bourbon-Spiked Cranberry Relish - I'll be posting that recipe and a link tomorrow. If you're at all interested, here's what's on the menu. Stop by! We always have plenty of food.

Shrimp cocktail
Hummus (homemade, spicy 3-pepper) w/ pita chips, warm pita wedges, jicama, celery
Crab dip
Almond-stuffed dates wrapped in bacon

Thanksgiving Dinner
Cornbread dressing
Bread dressing
Whipped potatoes
Green bean casserole
Deviled eggs
Mixed veggie casserole
Sweet Potato casserole (my ex-Mother-in-Law's recipe)
Cranberry sauce (from a can! with lines!) and kiwis
Bourbon-Spiked Cranberry relish
Sauerkraut (a traditional Thanksgiving dish for us)
Relish Tray (celery, olives, pickles, etc.)

Bourbon Chocolate Macadamia pie
Pumpkin Bars
Butterscotch Trifle


Anonymous said...

I think I gained 5 pounds and got a little tipsy just reading that! You sound like the hostess-with-the-mostess. I too am a list maker when it comes to big dinners and get-togethers - I have never gone as far as making a spreadsheet, but seeing how wonderfully organized it makes everything, I am putting it on my 'To Do' list. Happy Thanksgiving!

Ima Wurdibitsch said...

Aw, thanks! The spreadsheet helps me feel like I'm not going to end up forgetting something... like the year I forgot to put the turkey in the oven. Seriously. Fortunately, I'd brined it and it cooks faster that way.
Happy Thanksgiving to you, too!