Problem: All Those Dirty Pots and Pans Waiting for You
You’d rather linger at the table than face the mess in the kitchen, even if that means hearing your mother explain―yet again―what hairstyle she finds most flattering on you.
SolutionDon’t save all the cleaning for after the meal. If you sit down to dinner with the roasting pan soaking in the sink, you’re doomed. But by making some recipes early in the day, you’ll have time in between dishes to clean. Even if you don’t make anything in advance, stop and wash something every half hour or so. Most important, get the bulky items―the roasting pan, the pot you made the mashed potatoes in―out of the way before you eat. That way, says Anderson, “when the meal is over, all you’ve got is the basic dishes.”
If you have a cleanup crew, designate a runner to bring in the dishes, a second person to transfer leftovers to containers, and a third to do the cleanup. (And be prepared with aprons, rubber gloves, and dish towels.)
But beware of butterfingers. “Thanksgiving is a very greasy meal,” former caterer and author Francine Maroukian says. “It’s when the glasses break.”
Tempting as it may be to leave the cleanup until later―much later―refrigerate the leftovers within two hours of cooking. Then pour yourself that cook’s glass of wine that you may have forgotten earlier and sit down. Finally, you can really give thanks.