Making things "in advance" -- that's what my idol, Ina Garten, emphasizes. Many years of my poor mother dashing in and out of the family action to go tend to something in the kitchen underscores that.
Lucky me! I took the day off work yesterday to grocery-shop and prepare for Thanksgiving cooking, and I got to hear Ina interviewed on NPR's "Talk of the Nation"! So now I know how I'm going to do the turkey: super-easy and pretty much nothing. Butter, salt, roast, done.
'Cause, you all know how I'm about simplicity when it comes to cooking. Uh-huh. Well, I am basically practical, but that doesn't mean I can't apply my very own brand of insanity to to it. With Laura and Ryan here as willing guinea pigs, I'm going all-out. Turkey, 2 kinds of stuffing, 3 vegetables, mashed potatoes, candied yams, cornbread, an oddball chestnut dish, cranberry sauce (from fresh cranberries of course, mulled wine and 3 desserts. And a roasted butternut-squash-pumpkin soup today just...well, just because I had the squash and needed to use it.
Good thing I watch so much Food Network: do the desserts first, they take the longest. My experience with baking now also tells me that anything that involves fruit preparation (e.g. peeling and slicing apples) is very time-consuming. Pumpkin pies are really easy by comparison.
I made a pumpkin pie, an apple galette and Canadian butter tarts with pecans today for Dave.
Ina highly recommends making things in advance so you can be part of the party. I agree. She also strongly suggests not making too many things -- there's no need to, and unless you're feeding a frat house, guests really appreciate quality, not quantity. This latter I have trouble heeding, and it encroaches upon the former. Which is why at 11:30pm I'm on my way to the kitchen to work on another stuffing!! Ina, save me from myself!