No matter how much we look forward to that big Thanksgiving dinner, the two days on either side of it often bring with them a little bit of anxiety for the family cook.
We're down to the day before, when the procrastinating cooks among us begin to panic.
It's not always your fault: Life is complicated; you've been busy; work has been a pain; maybe one (or all) of the kids has been sick. Even so, the clock hasn't stood still for you and now we're down to the last day to get ready.
If you're just now beginning to work on your dinner (for whatever reason), there's help for you in my Thanksgiving Down to the Wire notes published online with the column. Have a look at them, take a deep breath, relax, and say "I can do this." Because you can.
But forget about being clever and creative. Stick to the classics: they're manageable, you don't have to think too hard about them, and, let's face it, everyone loves them. To help you out, I'm including three of those classics here.
When it comes to the day after, the anxiety becomes focused on all those leftovers.
Every year a lot of cooks feed that anxiety by scrambling for something new. But, honestly, there's not much that really is new, and the classics - hot turkey and dressing sandwiches, cold turkey and cheese sandwiches, creamed turkey, turkey soup, and the like - have become standards because everyone loves them.
I've included three such classics that are favorites with my family. They're basic enough for you to play around with them, adding personal touches to make them your own.
Just keep in mind the late Marcella Hazan's caution about chefs who get too clever: "Don't forget - you still have to eat it."