10 Tricks to a Trouble-Free Thanksgiving
Problem: Your famous apple pie is waiting in the wings, but it’s impossible to clear the dishes and serve dessert simultaneously.
Solution: Take a coffee break between courses.
- When you set the table, create a dessert station on a buffet or a side table in the dining room with forks, plates, pie servers, and coffee cups. Get Thanksgiving dessert recipes here.
- At the same time, set up the coffeemaker. When you’re clearing the table after your dinner (now is the time to accept those offers of help), push the brew button.
- Smith and McDonagh suggest having the sugar bowl full and pitchers of milk and cream ready in the refrigerator so you can put it all out quickly.
Problem: Dinner is over and all you want to do is kick back with your guests, but you have a mountain of pots and dishes waiting for you in the kitchen.
Solution: As long as everything is soaking in sudsy water, you can put off the cleanup indefinitely (well, almost).
- Before guests arrive, make like a caterer and create a breakdown station in the corner of the kitchen, the utility room, or the garage.
- Set up a lined garbage can so you can throw food scraps right into the trash, and organize soaking stations so the food doesn’t dry out and harden on plates and pans.
- After dinner, fill big pots with soapy water. Use them for soaking smaller things and utensils. Use the cooler again, for soaking larger items.
- If you want the mess out of sight fast, Harlan suggests giving pots a rinse, stacking them in a plastic laundry basket, and hiding it in the bathtub to wash later. Just remember to close the curtain.
If your dark circles aren’t quite this adorable, you don’t have to grin and bear it. Try these (en)lightening strategies to minimize them.