The sounds of canada geese overhead, summer’s abundant harvest, a chill in the air and leaves falling are all signals that Thanksgiving is close.

Is the thanksgiving feast at your home this year? Whether it’s the first time you’re responsible for getting this special dinner on the table or the twentieth, you’ll likely feel some apprehension. Can I get all this stuff ready to serve at the same time?

The key to a successful thanksgiving dinner is advance planning. We’ve put together a simple guide to assist you.

DINNER GUESTS

By now you have invited your dinner guests. Make sure you check to see how many children are coming. Ask your guests about food allergies to save you some unwanted grief.

MENU AND SHOPPING LIST

Write your menu in detail. Indicate those items that can be made ahead of time, frozen and those items that must be made at the last minute. Make a shopping list based on your menu. Post your menu and shopping list on your fridge. It will help to keep you organized.

Most desserts freeze well. You can freeze your pie dough until it is needed. Cranberry sauce, stuffing, dinner rolls and pumpkin/squash soup can be made ahead of time, frozen and pulled out of the freezer a couple of days before the big dinner.

Decide how you are going to cook your turkey. If you deep fry, smoke or barbecue your turkey, you won’t be able to stuff it. Just serve your stuffing as a side dish.

KITCHEN EQUIPMENT/DISHES

Check to ensure you have everything you need to cook and serve your dinner. Don’t forget the roaster and meat thermometer. If you’re short on serving dishes ask one of your guests to bring some.

DELEGATE

Don’t be shy about asking for some help. Ask your guests to bring wine, appetizers, dinner rolls, desserts or salads. Or maybe you would like someone to come early and help you in the kitchen. Delegation will free you up to concentrate on the main course. Besides, people like to make a contribution.

4 DAYS BEFORE DINNER

If you have a frozen turkey, take it out of the freezer and put it in the coldest part of your fridge. A slow thaw makes for a juicy turkey. Never defrost your turkey at room temperature as bacteria will breed.

1 DAY BEFORE DINNER

Get your perishables. Don’t make a salad too big because guests will be going for those special dishes. Get your veggies peeled, sliced, into cold water, covered tightly and stored in your fridge. Do a last minute tidy up and put your feet up. You deserve to relax a little at this point to be fresh for your guests.

DINNER DAY

The only last minute thing you should have to do today is make your gravy. You should do this while your turkey is ‘resting’, after you take it out of the oven.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you from all of us at Tru Value Foods. We are grateful for your patronage.