I've been cooking Thanksgiving dinner for my family since I was about 10 years old. At that time, I cooked everything except for the the turkey. The big bird seeemed intimidating so I just had my parents buy it pre-cooked. Back then, I would get up early in the morning the day of and wouldn't stop cooking and cleaning until half an hour before dinner was to be served. Oh, how lovely it was to have so much energy.
I cooked my first turkey my first year in college. Everyone was saying how easy it was, so I decided to give it a go. It was a success and I have been cooking the complete meal ever since. I have tried many techniques and I believe that I found a keeper. My next endeavor, a while from now, will be a deep fried turkey, saved for when I have enough guts and gizzards.
I have a friend who cooked Thanksgiving dinner for her family as well and she gave me a tip that never crossed my mind - pre-plan and prep work. Oh yeah! Why didn't I think of that? She explained what she was going to do three days ahead, two days ahead, and one day ahead - again, why didn't I think of that? I tried it one year, beginning a few days before turkey day and it worked out so beautifully. There was no stress or shall I say very little stress and I actually was able to take my time and enjoy the process. I also found myself having spare time to take a breather here and there. On the day of, all I had to do was assemble, minus cooking the bird. What a tip to be THANKFUL for. This year will be no different. I am pre-prepping everything, beginning with today - the pie crusts. Tomorrow I will fill the crusts and bake the pies. Wednesday will be left for chopping and dicing and brining. Thursday will be left for everything else.
I believe I will be making three pies this year - apple, pumpkin, and sweet potato. I try to incorporate new items every year, while keeping some of the traditional items. This year's winner is sweet potato. I'll let you know how it goes.