It may be your biggest meal of the year. Or ever. (Remember, no one is keeping score. Really.)

When it comes to Thanksgiving, all cooks benefit from a kitchen fairy dropping knowledge and sprinkling pixie-dusted words of encouragement. With this handy-dandy planner, we hope to be the kitchen fairy in your ear, whispering little tips and tricks as you measure and chop and make edits to your to-do list.

Over the coming days, this planner will grow, and as always, we welcome your input. Let us know how else we can help. If you have a question burning a hole in your potholder, send it our way. We may publish it in the Nov. 21 Food section. Drop us a line at:

Wishing you all a healthy and happy Thanksgiving. 

The doctor is in

— Pre-Thanksgiving pep talk.

— Gluten-free gravy and more Thanksgiving advice [Front Burner]

Doing the math

— In many ways, Thanksgiving prep is a numbers game. We walk you through the temperatures, times, ratios and serving estimates for many of the classic dishes.

Turkey talk

— Where to buy a Lancaster County-raised bird.

— How to cook a turkey, start to finish, with a roasting FAQ. If you like turkey, this one’s a keeper.


— Cranberry sauce for the table

— How to make your own cranberry juice (and sparkler for the holidays)

Winter squash school

— A guide to 8 varieties of locally grown winter squash, including neck pumpkin

— The scoop on roasting winter squash and turning it into puree, a blank slate for sides, soup and pie.

Carb Corner

Dinner rolls that you can make ahead and freeze.

— Why foccacia makes great stuffing.

— How to make a gluten-free stuffing with wild rice.

Sweet endings

— Pie, pie, pie: How to make dough, apple filling and stay calm.

— Eight places to buy lard in Lancaster County for pie or other baking projects.

— Really good pumpkin bread with neck pumpkin.

— Poached pears for a downsized Thanksgiving or date night.

— Any-fruit upside down cornmeal cake.

Don’t feel like cooking the whole shebang?

— Our list of Lancaster businesses accepting Thanksgiving pre-orders for pies and sides, or even complete dinners.