random rant: turkey day stress

18 Nov

I’m hosting Thanksgiving for my family this year. There will be 15 of us. For those of you that have been to my house, you know what a feat this will be. For those of you that haven’t been, let me fill you in. I have no dining room, I have one bathroom, and all rooms are small. Though, all the rooms are cute!

I love hosting people at our home and I love cooking for crowds. However, I must say, I’m stressed. This will be the first time I’ve hosted a large holiday which for some reason has me even more wigged out. I don’t think I’ve admitted out loud how wigged out I am. So I’m doing it on the blog.

Here is what is keeping me up at night:

  • How will I fit 15 people? I’d like for them to all be sitting together. Should I tell them to wear parkas and we’ll eat outside?
  • This will be my first time cooking a large bird. What if I make some elementary mistake and it looks like the turkey from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation?
  • I am not making my grandmother’s stuffing recipe because…..I don’t like it (sorry grandma!).  I’m trying something new. Will my family forgive me?
  • Is a Wii bowling tournament a good idea? I think so, but will others think it’s lame?
  • Where should I set up beverages where people are not trouncing through the kitchen?
  • Is there one kind of beer everyone likes or do I need multiple? I like to keep the brothers happy.
  • Do people care about lumps in the mashed potatoes?
  • What if there is a giant snow storm and I’m stuck at home with a 20-lb turkey?
  • With that many people in the house, do I need to turn on the AC?

Okay, I feel better now that I have that off my chest. It was really good therapy. I realize after reading these, some of them are a little ridiculous.  This is my family after all, they have to like me.

For you Thanksgiving pros out there, I would love to hear any thoughts/comments suggestion/tips!

14 Responses to “random rant: turkey day stress”

  1. chez pat November 18, 2009 at 11:39 pm #

    * How will I fit 15 people? I’d like for them to all be sitting together. Should I tell them to wear parkas and we’ll eat outside?

    sounds quaint and autumnal, but cold. card tables in the basement.

    * This will be my first time cooking a large bird. What if I make some elementary mistake and it looks like the turkey from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation?

    not possible, you have skillz.

    * I am not making my grandmother’s stuffing recipe because…..I don’t like it (sorry grandma!). I’m trying something new. Will my family forgive me?

    stuffing is the best part of the meal, make lots.

    * Is a Wii bowling tournament a good idea? I think so, but will others think it’s lame?

    win.

    * Where should I set up beverages where people are not trouncing through the kitchen?

    outside the front door? that sounds like a bit of a pickle.

    * Is there one kind of beer everyone likes or do I need multiple? I like to keep the brothers happy.

    2 kinds….light and micro

    * Do people care about lumps in the mashed potatoes?

    lumps rule. if they don’t like it, tell them they can host next year.

    * What if there is a giant snow storm and I’m stuck at home with a 20-lb turkey?

    i live close enough to eat the leftovers.

    * With that many people in the house, do I need to turn on the AC?

    crack a few windows.

    have fun.

    • jen November 19, 2009 at 7:09 am #

      Thanks Pat – that made my day. :)

  2. jrnorton23 November 19, 2009 at 12:07 am #

    Brine the turkey — I go with the Cook’s Illustrated method. Maybe it’s just superstition, but every bird I’ve brined has turned out lovely and moist. And when the turkey turns out, everything else falls into place.

  3. Ann November 19, 2009 at 7:30 am #

    Take a deep breath and enjoy your company. I am serving the inlaws…I should be somewhat stressed, but am pretty cool at this point. Come Wednesday night I might be calling you…hehehe

  4. Kris November 19, 2009 at 8:07 am #

    On cooking the bird, do you have a charcoal grill? This is the way my dad always made ours and I followed his simple instructions for the first time on my own last year and it was perfect. Let me know if you want the details.

    Homemade stuffing can be really hit or miss and I honestly have to say that Stove Top is pretty good for how easy it is to prepare.

    Lumpy mashed potatoes? That’s the only way to tell they didn’t come out of a box!

    Drinks – set them up in a space where you have the least concern about the floor. And on the beer, Pat’s right. Go with 1 macro (Bud, Miller, you get it) and one micro (Summit and Schells are widely available and if you can’t decide on 1 type both usually have 12 pk sampler packs).

    Biggest tip though: do everything you can ahead of time and this includes setting your table(s), pulling out all of your serving dishes and utensils and mapping out what will get cooked where and when (i.e. turkey on the grill at 10 am, cook potatoes stovetop at 10:30, corn in the crockpot on low at 11…).

    Good luck and have fun!

  5. anne November 19, 2009 at 10:20 am #

    I’m stressed out just READING this post. And Jen, I know you’d never consider Stove Top. That would be a disgrace. (Not to mention a sure-fire case of GSS afterwards.)

  6. Fav Sista November 19, 2009 at 12:42 pm #

    I am kinda chuckling as I rarely catch Jen getting “wigged out.” This is a new experience for me to have her wacko over this. Yes, I think it is funny. All the sista’s have been there as we all had our first big host at one point. Just think of it as making memories. Although you certainly don’t want to be tagged with “remember Jen’s turkey that one year?” much like Steve’s “potato salad” that we all will never forget. You will pull it together and your fav sista and family will be there to help. We already have the Wii Tourney under control and it will be FUN! Cannot wait!
    P.S. I’ll bring my parka and boots just in case ;0)

  7. Kristin November 19, 2009 at 1:02 pm #

    Do you have a porch. I usually set up drinks out there. I’m pretty sure everyone would be down with your Wii idea!

  8. Faith Lubitz November 19, 2009 at 2:53 pm #

    my rec is to get a fresh free range turkey such as kadejan from the wedge. I have roasted a couple of these at 275, didn’t brine or anything, they are fabulous. And the leftover meat keeps incredibly well in the fridge for over a week. And you don’t get tired of it, neither do the cats…good luck..

  9. Jackson November 19, 2009 at 10:19 pm #

    I like Pat’s format and I am going to do the same.

    How will I fit 15 people? I’d like for them to all be sitting together. Should I tell them to wear parkas and we’ll eat outside?

    *I agree with Pat. Card tables in the basement sounds good.

    This will be my first time cooking a large bird. What if I make some elementary mistake and it looks like the turkey from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation?

    *Now that would be a memory for sure. I love that movie. (If by some chance the turkey bombs there will plenty of other food and we will still love you.)

    I am not making my grandmother’s stuffing recipe because…..I don’t like it (sorry grandma!). I’m trying something new. Will my family forgive me?

    *Of course we’ll forgive you. You’re hosting and we’ll love whatever you serve.

    Is a Wii bowling tournament a good idea? I think so, but will others think it’s lame?

    *Great idea! Definitely not lame. I’m going to get my game on.:)

    Where should I set up beverages where people are not trouncing through the kitchen?

    *Downstairs on the bar.

    Is there one kind of beer everyone likes or do I need multiple? I like to keep the brothers happy.

    *I don’t care about the beer as long as there is good wine.

    Do people care about lumps in the mashed potatoes?

    *Heck no.

    What if there is a giant snow storm and I’m stuck at home with a 20-lb turkey?

    *I’ll come over as soon as the roads are plowed. I don’t live to far.

    With that many people in the house, do I need to turn on the AC?

    *Yes to AC. With that many people and my hot flashes. Oy!

    Jen – No one will go hungry and I know everything will be great. I understand your stress. Been there, done that. It will all work out. Call me if you need help or moral support and I’ll come over early. Love you lots and see you soon. – Your other fav sister:)

  10. The sister-in-law November 20, 2009 at 8:52 pm #

    Ditto on Pat’s format and I am going to do the same too. :)

    How will I fit 15 people? I’d like for them to all be sitting together. Should I tell them to wear parkas and we’ll eat outside?

    Card tables in the basement is great. It’s really only a few more bodies than when you hosted the sibling dinner a few years ago. You nailed it then, and I suspect you’ll do so again. Will there be pomagranite martinis? lol

    This will be my first time cooking a large bird. What if I make some elementary mistake and it looks like the turkey from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation?

    I’m sure your turkey will be moist and perfect. Borrow a roaster. It’ll free up your oven to keep sides dishes warm. I’ve roasted turkey’s in my laundry room in year’s past. I too have a small kitchenn. :) Peel your potatoes the night before and store in salt water in the fridge so they don’t turn brown. A real time saver on T-day.

    I am not making my grandmother’s stuffing recipe because…..I don’t like it (sorry grandma!). I’m trying something new. Will my family forgive me?

    I, too, am not a fan, (no organ parts in my stuffing, thank you). I can’t wait to try your stuffing. In my eyes, it’s the best part of the meal.

    Is a Wii bowling tournament a good idea? I think so, but will others think it’s lame?

    *Awesome idea! We may have to carry on the tournament at Christmas. Shhh , it’s a Santa gift this year.

    Where should I set up beverages where people are not trouncing through the kitchen?

    *Downstairs on the bar or the laundry room is another option.

    Is there one kind of beer everyone likes or do I need multiple? I like to keep the brothers happy.

    MGD Lite and a fancy beer works. Did you say there will be pomagranite martinis. hee hee.

    Do people care about lumps in the mashed potatoes?

    Who cares, slop some gravy on them and they’ll be divine.

    What if there is a giant snow storm and I’m stuck at home with a 20-lb turkey?

    I’m sure your cookbooks have lots of great recipeis, if not freeze it up in small batches, so you can make soups, enchildas, etc, etc.

    With that many people in the house, do I need to turn on the AC?

    Keep the temp set about 60 or 65 that morning, and open a few windows if necessary.

    I grew up in a small house such as yours, although we did have two bathrooms and Mom hosted 24 people, you’ll be fine. Looking forward to seeing you in action next week. :)

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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