You may have noticed, I’m a huge fan of Thanksgiving, I love the food, the company, the warm feeling of gratitude, and did I mention the food? What I don’t love is eating myself silly and then having to face the pile of dishes from . . . well, you know where it’s from, right?
In some households the cook gets out of clean-up; sometimes I wonder what that is like. Over the years and after hosting many dinner and holiday parties I have learned the key to easy post-holiday clean-up is to:
Clean as you go.
I know, it doesn’t sound fun, but really the only other option is to face down the mountain of pots, pans, utensils, serving dishes, AND regular dishes at the end of the evening. Who wants to do that when there is turkey to digest? Not me.
Run and empty the dishwasher before starting your Thanksgiving Day cook-a-thon and don’t forget to wash any straggling dishes in the sink, too. If you are lucky enough to have a sink with two sides, fill one with hot, soapy water. If you don’t have that luxury, use a dishpan. Wash everything as you go.
Soak as you go.
The only thing worse than cleaning up dirty pots and pans is cleaning up pots and pans with dried up and crusty food. Fill your pans with hot, soapy water and allow the dish detergent to works its magic on the dishes, while you work yours on the meal.
Have a plan for leftovers.
Remember a few days ago when I mentioned to put storageware on your Thanksgiving shopping list? Having enough containers for leftovers is crucial for easy post-holiday clean-up. As soon as dishes are removed from the table or buffet, place the leftovers in Reynolds Wrap® Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil or other proper storage containers.
There’s nothing to be gained by being the kitchen martyr and people like feeling useful. If someone offers to help with clean-up, take them up on the offer. If they are genuine friends, they will be glad to help and if not, well, they’ll learn not to offer. Either way, you win.
The end of dinner doesn’t mean the end of the conversation and memories aren’t only made at the dinner table. Invite your friends and family into the room during clean-up. It’s ok, I promise that they have seen dishes before.
Let it go.
The post-holiday clean-up doesn’t have to be done to completion right away. As long as all the food has been stored properly, trash has been thrown away, and the pots and pans are soaking, some of the clean up can wait. Enjoying time with the family is what it is all about.