Thanksgiving is this week, and I am beginning to shudder when I step into my kitchen. We have close to twenty guests this year, and the cooking begins today. Don’t get me wrong. I love Thanksgiving. And I really enjoy the traditional foods for the holiday; I just don’t necessarily love cooking. When I find a way to simplify things, I do. So how do I cook for twenty in bite-sized chunks (pun intended)?
- If I can make it ahead of time, I will. The next few days will include grinding flours for rolls and pie crusts, making refrigerator roll dough and pie dough (kept in the fridge until Thursday morning), peeling potatoes (and leaving them in water so they don’t brown), par-baking and slicing yams, and anything else I can think of getting done.
- Pull it from storage. I bottle, dehydrate, freeze, and cook in large batches-not because I love to do it, but because one day busy in the kitchen helps save me time the rest of the year. Our apple pie filling will be from the batch of 25 quarts we bottled a few weeks ago. The apple butter is from a batch of 36 pints we put up in a couple of hours. The corn is from my garden via the freezer. Ditto on the peas. Wassail will also come from the juice in 2 quart bottles downstairs.
- Assign some things to others who are coming, or enlist the help of those who are at the house. Working together helps the meal come together more quickly, and is definitely more fun! (I claim the titles of Mother, Keeper of the Hearth, and a few others, but I am not a serving girl, servant, or hired help. The Little Red Hen is one of my favorite stories after all!)
- Smile. Enjoy the wonderful smells in the house. Anticipate the meal, and the yummy creations to follow in the next few days. Enjoy the spirit of the season!
While I may not love cooking, the time with family and friends is precious. The peace that comes with a grateful heart is needed and cherished. And food feeds not just our bodies; it also feeds our souls!