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It may be too late for this year, but I'll pass this on for next year. The two best tips I ever got for streamlining Thanksgiving were these:

1. Set the table the night before. Get out all the dishes, the silverware, the serving bowls and spoons, the tablecloths, the glassware, and actually set the table as though your guests were arriving in an hour. It's one of the things that is a pleasure to do when there's time to do it right, and yet one of the things that can be most stressful on the actual day itself when dishes are flying in and out of the oven and people are moving in a dozen directions at the same time.

2. Make the gravy ahead of time! Yes! It's totally do-able. Along with your turkey, buy a package or two of turkey parts. Thighs, drumsticks, and/or wings are great for this. The day before Thanksgiving, roast the turkey pieces in the oven for about an hour until they are browned on all sides, then make stock from the roasted pieces and use that stock for making your gravy. It's amazing how smoothly gravy works when you're not stirring stress into the mix.

Here's a great page that explains how to make turkey stock and gravy from roasted pieces ahead of time:


If you try it this way, I swear you'll never, ever go back to the old way, where you have to wait for the turkey to come out of the oven before you even start the gravy-making process.

November 27, 2008 - 6:37pm


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