Even if you have a spacious new kitchen, you might need to do a little inventory and organizing this week and heading into December. If you are hosting Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday, you probably have all of your ducks in a row, so to speak. If you are traveling for your turkey dinner, you can still keep these tips in mind to help make meal prep and clean-up go smoothly for the next round of holiday feasting.
Experts seem to agree that if you haven’t already run the self-cleaning feature on your oven, don’t attempt to do so right before Thanksgiving dinner. It’s not worth risking an oven malfunction. Try wiping up any oven spills with a combination of baking soda and water, or use an oven cleaner that’s safe for self-cleaning ovens. Your dishwasher will also be working extra hard this time of year. Wipe down the door gasket with some diluted white vinegar, and check the bottom drain for food debris and even broken glass. Clear out the fridge and freezer to make room, and wipe down all surfaces.
This is a task often forgotten, until someone shreds the turkey or ham instead of carving it. It only takes a few seconds to drag your kitchen knives through a sharpener (found at any store that sells kitchen gadgets), and it makes chopping both easier and safer. A dull blade is more likely to slip off of the food and onto your finger.
Keep Guests Safe
If you expect a large number of dinner guests, it’s a good idea to have a kitchen fire extinguisher handy. Lots of people moving around (especially young children) the kitchen, deep frying a turkey outdoors, and lighted candles for ambiance can all lead to an added risk of fire. Also make sure that your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are in good working order, especially if you have overnight guests.
Clear the Counters
This is prime time for counter space. If you haven’t already done so, remove everything from your kitchen counters, wipe them down, and relocate any appliances, canisters or anything else you won’t be needing to make your holiday dinner. If you have ample counters, designate one section for storing good china, extra utensils and serving dishes until you set the table. If you need all of your counter space for food preparation and storage, set up a portable table away from the kitchen to keep all of your extra tableware handy.
We get it. After Thanksgiving or any holiday dinner, most of us feel like relaxing. You won’t regret tackling the kitchen and dish cleanup right away, though. Pack up leftovers as soon as you can to avoid spoilage, and get the dishwasher loaded and running and counters cleared off again and wiped down. Soon enough, you know someone will need the space and the clean utensils to make that first turkey sandwich.