So if you’re playing along with me at home…
The turkey is in the brine already, the stock for the gravy is made and today you probably made the very plain cornbread that will become the basis of your not plain stuffing. Bonus points if you made your pie dough and have it in the fridge to chill and be ready to roll out later.
The big hint for today is to make some style decisions about whether you will serve at the table or plate from the kitchen. Serving from the table was the only choice when I was growing up and it was usually the point where all the best laid plans came crashing down because no one had planned what bowls, platters, and so forth would be used; the carving knife and fork were never inspected, let alone sharpened; and those years in which the electric knife was used (hahaha, don’t do this), the cord was often missing. Check everything now to make sure it is in working order.
True Story: Dad, who strictly believed in serving hot food on hot plates, when the turkey came out very helpfully put my mother’s china in the oven to warm up, you know, without telling her. When the dinner schedule started slipping, well, the now-roasted china had literally charred in the oven, and allegedly the gold bands on the plates had come off. If he had asked Mom she would have told him to use the dishwasher. That was a legendary fight complete with new vocabulary words for me and my siblings.
So, take a moment decide on plating in the kitchen or serving family style. If it is family style, gather up the serving stuff and put a note on each piece saying what it will be used for. If you are being extra-fancy and doing courses, make sure that you have not buried the first course implements under everything else. Just a few moments spent now will save you a fight later. This is also a great time to enlist one of those friends/family members that always insists upon helping: make them the server.
Spoiler alert: tomorrow the turkey should come out of the brine, be rinsed off, and returned to the ice box to drain and dry off (pro tip: use a vegetable steamer to raise the turkey above the pan so it dries on all sides). This will ensure that you have a nice crisp skin instead of the rubbery one that so often follows from brining.