Gwen Petersen: In a Sow’s Ear 11-28-11
November 29, 2011
Thanksgiving – that time of year when one gives thanks for Martha Stewart. What an amazing individual. The set of her television kitchen is bigger than my entire house. There’s more equipment stashed on shelving and in cupboards than can be found in a Wal-Mart store. Like Santa Claus, Martha Stewart must have a staff of elves working 24/7 dreaming up fresh doo-dads, gimmicks, gew-gaws and new ways to cook, decorate and entertain.
I came across Martha’s advice on preparing for Thanksgiving and decided that anyone who has become a zillionaire by telling other people how to live is someone to heed. So I heeded. She suggested that to avoid Turkey Day stress, I should do all prep work the day before Thanksgiving. She wrote:
• Buy salad greens and perishable vegetables ahead of time. (Well I should hope so. Don’t want to have to drive to town on Gobbler Day for radishes).
• Make fruit and pecan pies. Store at room temperature instead of fridge so they don’t get soggy. (Okay, but who says I’m going to make pie? As long as I’m buying those fresh veggies, I might as well pick up a couple of Sara Lee’s while I’m shopping.)
• Set table the day before with linens, serving dishes, centerpieces, and place settings. (Now, Martha, I can tell that you don’t own cats. As for place settings, it’s a first-come basis if people dine at my house).
• Pick up fresh turkey. (Should I chop its head off, scald and pluck it first)?
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• Make a timeline for the Big Day. Prepare a set schedule and checklist to allow you to get organized while entertaining. (Martha, what kind of entertainment did you have in mind)?
Martha doesn’t forget the kiddies. She advises making paper place mats printed with clip art and scattering the kids’ table with crayons. To make placemats, trim kraft paper to 11-by-17-inches, and run the sheets through your printer like regular paper. (Martha, how about I just throw down some butcher paper and let the kids make their own place mats)?
Remember Martha’s recommendation to “set table the day before with linens …” mentioned above? Well, not just any linens. She’s got a recipe for “colorful custom napkins.” She directs me to buy yards of material, cut it into napkin squares, sew on trim, make several “wishbones” from a downloaded wishbone stencil template, spray each one gold, and stick one on every napkin, holding it in place with “Niagara sizing spray.” (Martha, are these napkins washable?)
Wait! The thrill isn’t over. Martha has clever craft directions for how to make a paper-bag “turkey” stuffed with popcorn. It involves brown paper sacks, hot glue, scissors and of course popcorn. Once this delicacy is created, add “corn on the cob” garnishes made from tamale wrappers, green paint, yellow tissue paper and candy bits to stuff in the “corncobs.”
Martha, how do you DO it! Following all your tips and advice has given me a headache; I’m exhausted, and my pocketbook has incurred serious damage.
I have, however, saved back enough personal currency to make a reservation at a fine restaurant where the linens are snowy, the beverages are adult, the food is superb and somebody else cleans up after.
P.S. If I spot any unusual craft decorations, I’ll take notes and let you know.