November is the month for celebrating the autumn harvest and family. If you are hosting the family event, it is also a month of menu planning, food preparation, cleaning the house, organizing the linens, china and silverware, and on and on the list goes. Let’s just admit it, up front; it is a considerable amount of work to host the annual Thanksgiving dinner. But I can help; I have been hosting our family Thanksgiving holiday for the past seven years and with a bit of planning, a yearly journal and a few specialized cooking magazines, hosting gets easier every year. Let’s start by examining my number one favorite tool for hosting a party for any occasion:
Plan your holiday menu as soon as you have set a date for your event (this tips will apply to any celebration or event that you are hosting), which in the case of today’s blog entry is Thanksgiving. By taking the time to decide upon your menu early, you can watch for specialty sales on non-perishables all month long. As you plan your menu, make copies of each recipe you intend to prepare. Highlight the items that you already have in your pantry; make notes to indicate which items you need to purchase for each menu item on the specific recipe. Then, create a separate shopping list, by menu item so that you can insure that each item has all necessary ingredients before you begin the meal preparations. This simple method of menu organization and preparation will save you a considerable amount of time later. As you grocery shop through-out the month, continue to monitor sales for the items you need on your holiday meal list. Do not buy items that are perishable such as fresh fruits, vegetables and other items until the day before your event. Keep this collection of menu items stapled together in your cookbook. After the event, discard any recipes that you do not intend to prepare again, keeping the others attached. This collection of recipes is now your foundation for hosting the event next year; simply add new recipes and create a new shopping list and you have already completed the first step of preparation for hosting your second Thanksgiving holiday in 2009.
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