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Five ways to keep your sanity this Thanksgiving

November 23, 2010

★   Go early. This is one of my favorite tricks in dealing with supermarkets. But then I’m an early riser. Get there at six, really, six or seven in the morning and you won’t have to stand behind the person who just discovered they have coupons for 20 items.

★   Do the mise en place thing , especially with all your serving utensils and dishes. Then you won’t break into a cold sweat wondering exactly what bowl you will use to serve the haricot vert.

★   Make it ahead and freeze it. Every time I’ve cooked Thanksgiving, I’ve prepared at least 75 percent of my menu before the big day. Sweet potatoes freeze beautifully. Ditto my signature chocolate, cranberry and vanilla ice cream bar. That way I’m ready to rock and roll and it gives me extra time to dab on my lip gloss.

★   If you are full after dinner, serve dessert later. During my most recent turn as Thanksgiving chef for my family, we feasted on a dessert bar the next day. The  day-old lemon bars, cheesecake  pecan pie, and of course that signature ice cream bar tasted even better.

★   If something goes south, don’t let your mood follow it. Fix it. The last time I made cranberry cheesecake for Thanksgiving,  I added cornstarch to the sauce too quickly. So it started getting lumpy. I did not want to go through the process of making another cranberry sauce from scratch, so I simply got a sieve and strained out the lumps. No one was the wiser–until now.

★   Do the mise en place thing , especially with all your serving utensils and dishes. Then you won’t have a cold sweat wondering exactly what bowl you will use to serve the haricot vert.

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