Planning Thanksgiving Dinner

Among other disconcerting effects, we’ve noticed that Erica’s legal career has strongly encouraged three things:

  1. A tendency toward excessive planning;
  2. A compulsive need to organize; and
  3. A deep and profound love of Excel.

There are legitimate arguments that these qualities, and the degrees to which they manifest, are unhealthy, obsessive, and profoundly annoying.  We’re pretty sure that she understands, and have a sneaking suspicion that she maintains friendships through frequent baked-goods distributions.  We know food-based bribery works for us – we’ll forgive almost anything for the occasional spoonful of peanut butter.

Personal relationships aside, it can be super helpful to think this way when planning a huge holiday meal.  Below is a chart Erica made and posted on the fridge to stay on track while cooking Thanksgiving dinner for 8 (with leftovers).  This tracks day-of prep work (in lighter shades), and when each item needs to go into the oven (darker shades).  This is organized for a 5:30 mealtime, with guests arriving for cocktails and appetizers at 4:30 (hence the +++ line).


For Erica, this takes a lot of stress out of cooking the day-of.  She can plan in advance to make sure everything is prepped and ready, knows what needs to go in the oven when, and doesn’t need to flip back and forth between a million different recipes during that last hectic hour.

You can access the spreadsheet itself and modify for your own meal by clicking on the link: thanksgiving.

Below, we’ve listed links to some of the recipes she included for the meal.

How do you stay organized during Thanksgiving and other big meals?  We’d love to hear your tips and tricks!

Bone Appetit!bone

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