Shine that Silver
In my honest opinion, the only thing worse than a dry turkey is a dry turkey presented on a tarnished platter. However, if your culinary skills could use improvement you'll need to get good advice elsewhere. From me, you'll get recommendations on how to make the rest all clean and pretty, so if the bird is burnt, at least it'll get carried out of the kitchen on a sparkly and shiny tray. To make this happen you'll need a box of baking soda and some foil. (This is truly amazing!)
Line your kitchen sink or a wash bucket with aluminum foil. (The heavy-duty stuff works best.) Load up the silver you intended to hand polish, making certain that each item touches the foil liner. Cover the entire contents with boiling water and simply add a cup of baking soda. Even if all you have is that box that's been sitting in the back of the fridge for the past five years, the tarnish will jump from the silver to the foil in almost no time at all! For heavy tarnishing that may still remain, simply make a paste of water and baking soda and gently polish the remaining surfaces 'til they shine. It's a completely safe chemical reaction that won't damage your precious silver heirlooms the way harsh commercial polishes might.
Clean those Dishes
To perk up those hand-painted periwinkle plates, crystal glassware and just about anything else you intend to place on your table, borax is delicate enough for it all, including dirty pots, pans and bake ware left when the guests are gone. Just add one-half cup of borax to a sink full of hot water. Wash well and rinse with clear water.
Launder those Fine Linens
Now for that paroled Aunt's embroidered handiwork...it has to be used because she's been invited! (Yikes!) Freshly laundered and ironed, once on the table its biggest offender is red wine. Now of course you could choose to only serve white wine, but let's say you serve red as well and your oldest uncle has had a few too many and...woops...spills his red wine on his sister's penitentiary petit-point. Not to worry. All you need to do is pour as much table salt as you can to completely cover the stain. Salt is cheap, so if it's a big stain, just get out the box and pour away until it's lost under a pile of the white stuff. Allow it to sit till the wine has been absorbed and then soak the fabric for about a half an hour in cold water. Wash as usual.
While I've always said, and still believe, "No meal is complete until a garment is soiled," there are 364 other evenings for that to happen -- it doesn't need to always be on Thanksgiving! So next year...take my advice...make a call, wish everyone well, and understand that giving thanks can happen in a million wonderful ways besides sweating over a hot stove, or driving over hill and dale and back (if you're the guest and not the host), and only reliving your family dysfunction while making every brave attempt at recreating that famous Norman Rockwell painting.
So while you're toiling, my boyfriend and I will be basking on white sand beaches and swimming in the beautiful aqua waters of the Caribbean. (C'mon now...which would you prefer?)
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