- List one: Household chores that need to be done prior to the cooking. This list gets started two weeks ahead of the event.
- List two: the menu. Gotta know where you are headed.
- List three: The shopping list, one page, several days of errands, all on one sheet of paper. Don't lose this list.
- List four: All the recipes printed out (if possible) or gathered.
- List five: The chop list. This one takes all the various vegetables that are needed, quantity, type of chop, etc. and puts all the prep work together. Sounds odd, we all think of recipes one at a time. For big meals, it makes more sense to combine prep work. For example, the gratin and the green bean casserole both use two chopped shallots. On the list, put down one line item for four chopped shallots and do the prep all at once. It is also a great list in case you have kitchen help or a spouse that likes to chop. You can hand them the list and work on other items. And, yes, do all your chop and prep the day ahead even if you can't complete the recipe. You'll be amazed at how much easier it makes life the day of.
- List six: Yes, I know, I am anally-retentive. I said it. This one is important. The oven list. This list tells you what temperature the oven needs to work at, when each dish needs to go in (and out). The timing works backward from meal time. This list is important for everything to hit the table in sync. You can go a bit further and add the stove items and all the steps you have to do on the day of (in order) before meal time. It sounds crazy, but kids, there is a reason I got a rock solid A on my practical exam in culinary school. I had a list. One person, five dishes, 90 minutes. No special talent, just a list.
I'll post the sample lists once the holiday is complete. Christmas dinner is coming, and I hear that's the best time of year to make lists and check them. I'll post the final menu and the lists for next Thanksgiving as well.
By now, you menu is set and you are headed to bed to get some rest. Big day of pie making tomorrow. Have a wonderful holiday!