Saturday, December 6, 2014

Thanksgiving lessons learned

It was delicious, but even after a few years of doing this for 15-20 people, I have a few lessons learned:

Don't try to make dressing sufficient to the amount of bread you've prepared.  Just make a 9x13 pan of each type of dressing and don't use all the bread cubes.

Don't forget that if a recipe says "serves 8" that means as part of a normal dinner.  At Thanksgiving there are more sides, so a normal "serves 8" may well suffice for 16 since people tend to take smaller portions of a larger number of dishes.

When your turkey needs to be large (maybe 20+ pounds),  get two smaller ones instead.  Cooking and handling (rotating) get so much easier.

Start the turkey breast down and rotate to sides, then finish breast up.  This is critical, and not mentioned consistently in all recipe directions, making one think that it's optional.

Once again I used a spreadsheet to plan Thanksgiving.  I then abandoned it, proving that planning is essential but plans are not.  I would definitely use a spreadsheet again.

Cornbread dressing was new this year and was a real winner.  I used "Cornbread, Chorizo, Cherry, and Pecan Stuffing Bon App├ętit | November 2014 as a basis for improvisation"  and "Skillet Corn Bread Gourmet | November 2008 by Lillian Chou" as the cornbread recipe.

First the menu and associated people:

 Then the days leading to Thanksgiving (this I followed, mostly):



Then Thanksgiving day (which I didn't even look at on Thanksgiving day, but agonized over before):