The food editors at Bon Appetite magazine (clearly a source you can trust!) compiled these 10 most common Thanksgiving mistakes and gave us some common sense tips to avoid them. Believe it or not, we are guilty of committing at least a couple of mistakes on this list in the past. This list is a good reminder (like, read the recipe first!) for novice and pro-alike. May we all have a stress-free, delicious Thanksgiving this year… Cheers!
10 Most Common Thanksgiving Mistakes
Not reading the recipes first — This classic mistake results in a lot of “Oops, I don’t have that pan” or “oops, I didn’t know it needed to brine overnight.” Avoid these disasters by reading the recipes! Make sure you have the dishes needed and ample time to get things done.
Picking dishes that all require last-minute preparation… When designing the feast, figure out how it’s going to get put together and on the table at the same time. Know what can be done ahead, what can be warmed in the oven while the turkey rests, etc.
…Or that all need to be in the oven at the same time — Choose recipes that require different preparation and can be served at different temperatures; oven versus stovetop and hot versus room temp.
Not having all of the serving dishes and utensils needed — Reading the recipes will help you figure out what you might need, but you can always rearrange the dishes you have to fit with the right recipe. If you are short, borrow from friends and family.
Undercooking the turkey — Rely on internal temperatures rather than cooking time to determine when your bird is done. Don’t even think about roasting a turkey without a thermometer.
Overcooking the turkey — Start checking if it’s done about 1/2 hour before the recipe says it will be. But make it fast! The more you open the door, the more heat the oven will lose, making roasting time longer. OR, use a probe thermometer that stays in the turkey while it roasts, with an alarm that goes off when it’s ready.
Making lumpy mashed potatoes — Buy a potato ricer! It’s the best guarantee for a silky, lump-free mash.
Not serving hors d’oeuvres — Even if you’ve been tasting (read: snacking) all day as you cook, your guests haven’t. Put out something light, like cured salmon and crisps, to keep them hungry–but not ravenous–for the big meal.
Dishing out cold gravy — You can keep your gravy at serving temperature indefinitely by keeping it in a pot of barely simmering water that comes halfway up the sides of the gravy boat (although if you’re using grandma’s china, you might want to use a ceramic bowl).
Setting the table at the last minute — Set the table one day ahead. You can even put Post-It’s on serving dishes that say what recipe will go with which platter or bowl.