Everyone is a little insane. I am well aware that my particular breed of insanity goes into overdrive in the holiday kitchen.
Growing up, we had holiday dinners at my grandparents' house--a half-mile from my house and a block from my cousins'. The nearness of our homes meant that we had 3 ovens (and any number of helping hands) at the feasting preparations' disposal. Thus, I am accustomed to a wide array of delectable dishes piled high, wide, and deep on the holiday table. And buffet. And extra table.
Now, when it's just the two of us for a holiday meal, I can control these habits and limit my preparations. But when additions come to table, my insanity kicks in and the food multiplies exponentially.
There are new recipes to try! There are old recipes that must not be forgotten! Everyone has to have his favorite thing! Or things! And we can't forget aesthetic appeal! Dishes of every color! And! And!
Hence, my Thanksgiving Schedule Spreadsheet, where oven time is meticulously mapped out, beginning at T-minus-6 hours with the turkey and proceeding through dressings and casseroles and rolls and pies (that mustn't be baked ahead, lest they cool), carefully arranged so that time-sensitive dishes will be fresh out of the oven, hardy faithfuls will be kept piping hot on the back burner (Thank goodness for an energy-inefficient vintage range that exudes heat from every orifice, and some places that aren't!), and desserts will tempt us with their still-baking aroma as we eat dinner.
I'm a little crazy. And it doesn't end there. Beneath the oven time columns, stove-top dishes are penciled in at their appropriate cooking times and, beneath that, preparation tasks are listed where they best fit. The way it's mapped out, one person could conceivably handle the whole grand banquet. Fortunately for me (and for Carolyn, whose needs aren't inked in), I won't be cooking alone.
Three chefs + one oven = A fabulous Thanksgiving spread. . .I hope!