Four Tips to Help You Plan a Large Meal

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You can have dozens of cookbooks open and have years of cooking experience. But you can still fail at cooking a large meal if you don’t plan ahead. Here are 4 ways to make the work much easier.

Don’t Start from Scratch

There’s no need to make every food from scratch, especially when you’re planning to cook a Thanksgiving style feast. If you must prepare from scratch, do this step a day or two before you start cooking the main foods. For instance, choose a day when you plan to cook all of the main courses together. The day before, stuff the turkey, wash the vegetables, defrost and season the meat, etc. These preliminary steps will make your collective cooking tasks easier on the main day.

Treat Each Dish Individually

Treat each side dish like it was a miniature meal in itself. List each dish separately and create an elaborate plan for cooking each one. Through this detailed planning, make sure that you spend an equal amount of time preparing each portion of the large meal. This way, you won’t serve delicious pasta but have dry Kaiser rolls and soggy salad. People enjoy meals more when the quality is uniform across the entire plate.

Prepare Familiar Dishes

Make the work easier by preparing dishes that you already know by heart. Many people make the mistake of trying too hard to impress their family and friends. They plan elaborate meals with fancy dishes that they have never cooked before. You’ll spend a lot of time going through trial and error and may end up preparing a meal incorrectly. Instead of it being a memorable meal, it will be one that no one enjoys.

Ask for Help

One of the most important steps is to ask for help. Most cooks and bakers have assistants to help them complete the basic steps of a recipe. Request a family member or friend to join you in the kitchen and lend a hand. If they’re guests, ask them to prepare one or two courses separately and bring their creations to dinner.

Planning a large meal for a large group of people should not be a one-man or one-woman journey. Even with all of the resources on hand, you won’t succeed by doing everything on the same day and all by yourself. You can ask for help from loved ones, prepare your big meal for days in advance and enjoy cooking a lot of delicious foods in the process.

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