If you will be entertaining this holiday season, be very aware that though the holidays are a time of fun and celebration, they can quickly morph into an embarrassing fiasco if you don’t make the right preparations. To ensure that your planned celebration runs smoothly, here are five things you will want to consider the next time you host a holiday dinner celebration.
1. Unexpected Guests
So you have planned, plotted and everything is perfect for the upcoming dinner party. That is, until you realize that you don’t have enough food. You would have had enough food, except a cousin that you have not seen in two years brought along three uninvited guests! So what do you do now? First of all, always plan to have a little more food than the guests you expect to have. During holiday celebrations, most people tend to be a bit more lax about their diets and will indulge in bigger portions. Apart from that, plan to accommodate at least three to five more people than expected for a small (less than 10 people) holiday dinner. That way, you will always to be prepared. As a matter of fact, I don’t think anyone will be disappointed if there are leftovers after a holiday meal.
2. Food Allergies
Once you have invited the guests, make sure that you inquire about any food allergies that they may have. Forget about being embarrassed, such a mistake could be downright deadly. Something like lobster bisque or seafood gumbo is a little more obvious to someone that has a seafood allergy. Less blatant are things like peanut and walnut oil (possibly used in fried turkey or salad dressing) and wheat (found in all-purpose flour and likely used as a thickener in gravy). Most people that have known allergies will be diligent about avoiding certain foods, but if the ingredients are hidden as in the examples above, it will be up to you (the host) to remember and alert guests if needed.
3. Properly Cooking the Turkey
The best way to avoid undercooking a turkey is to plan to cook the turkey according to the weight of the bird. In other words, keep the packaging or be sure to write down the size of the turkey so that you don’t forget. A 10-18 pound unstuffed bird should be cooked for 3-3 ½ hours. Use an instant-read thermometer to make sure that the thickest part of the thigh registers at 180˚F when done. The "pop up" timer that comes inserted in most turkey breasts should not be used to determine the "doneness" of the turkey because white meat cooks more quickly than dark meat. In addition, make sure that the turkey is properly thawed before you cook it. For every five pounds, allowing 24 hours to defrost is always a good idea.
4. Remove the Turkey's Giblets
Turkey, turkey, turkey… there is so much to remember. Speaking of which, don’t forget to remove the giblets before cooking. If you any questions about cooking your turkey, Butterball has a toll free number (1-800- BUTTERBALL) that's available in November and December of every year. The operation is staffed by true home economic professionals and they are ready to answer your most difficult and daunting turkey questions.
5. Stock Your Paper Products
Besides having enough food and drinks available, one of the other most important things to have on hand at a holiday dinner party is paper products. It would be incredibly embarassing if you run out of toilet paper. Can you imagine that? Not a good vision at all. Maybe not likely, but it's best to be prepared. What is inevitable though, is that you will need paper towel at some time during the evening. You may even need a lot of it. So do yourself a favor and make sure that it is on hand. Next time you decide to get some family and friends together for a holiday dinner party, plan for the unexpected, ask about allergies, check the turkey and please, please don’t forget the toilet paper.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.