There are two major components to preparing a meal from start to finish. The actual recipes you’re making and….hoping its all ready at the same time. The second part is sometimes the biggest problem. Let’s take a popular meal like Thanksgiving. Turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans, rolls…and then what all the relatives bring and tell you “it just needs to be heated up.” How in the hell will all this be ready at the same time? Well even for someone like me with many hours in the kitchen it can still be a major problem.
First of all it helps to have at least one good size oven. If you have two then life just got way easier. Whether it’s Thanksgiving or Monday night leftovers, it’s important to know the cooking times of everything you’ll be serving. If a turkey takes three hours and green beans take thirty minutes, a good rule of thumb would be to put the green beans in the oven when then turkey has about thirty minutes left to cook. Easy right? Well how about if you have three more things to cook and they all call for different oven temps and times? Then it’s time to guesstimate. If your turkey needs to be at 350 degrees the whole time but you need to bake the green bean casserole for twenty minutes at 425 degrees what do you do? Sounds like a 6th grade math problem. Since you’ll be cooking the green beans now at 350 degrees instead of 425, they will need to stay in a little longer. How much you ask? Not sure. I would guess maybe 10-15 minutes. At least it gets you in the ballpark. You now need to do the same thing with everything else you have. Oh and one other thing. You’ll need to be hanging in the kitchen most of the time unless you have some reliable helpers.
It all comes down to timing and that’s usually the biggest obstacle. It doesn’t always come out perfect but most of the time you’ll get close. The secret to making it all work is no matter how bad things are going in the kitchen, always make your guests feel like you’re always on top of everything. In the event things aren’t perfect in the end, they’ll be sure and cut you some slack just because you seemed to have everything under control the whole time. Happy cooking!! TR