Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving Shopping List

I mentioned recently that I would share my easy method to create my Thanksgiving shopping list.

NOTE: You do need basic excel skills; i.e. creating sheets within the file, copy/paste, sorting, etc.

Click here to view my file; notice there are separate spreadsheets in the file.

The first three sheets are:
  • main & side dishes
  • appetizers
  • desserts
I list all ingredients for our standard holiday recipes. I note the menu type (main, side, appetizer, dessert, etc) and number them 1 through whatever.

I discuss with my sister what dishes she would like for me to be responsible for making for the current year. After we agree, I highlight in the ingredients from the first three sheets. I then copy & paste all lines to the fourth sheet "shopping list #1." This view gives me an overview of the ingredients I will need for each dish.

I then create the "shopping list 2" sheet and sort the list by ingredient name. As you can see on this sheet, sorting by ingredient name groups them together regardless of what dish you are making. This gives you an overview of the total amount of each ingredient you require.

Using "shopping list #2", I inventory those items I already have in my kitchen. If I do not need to purchase an item, I put "N" in the "need to purchase?" column. If I need to purchase the item, I put a "Y" in the column.

I then create the "shopping list 3" tab. I copy the contents of the "shopping list 2" tab and sort it by "Y" or "N" and then by "ingredient." This gives me the final shopping list, grouped by ingredient, with quantities visible.

I print "shopping list 3" and head to the store. If I am successful in obtaining every item on this list, then I can complete every dish for which I am responsible.

This sounds like a complicated process, I know. But if you have basic Excel skills, it is extremely easy.

The beauty of this process is that you can keep this file year over year. The initial file I have was probably created in 2000 or 2001. I have just added recipes over the years.

Because I have this excel file and my sister and I have our "Thanksgiving Recipe" binders, we can quickly plan our holiday dinner with the minimum of stress.

If you have any questions about this process, please leave a comment and I will respond.

More importantly, if you have a BETTER process, please leave a comment and tell us about it!

Happy Thanksgiving!
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  1. Well, so far my main responsibility for Thanksgiving is to show up!!! How 'bout that???

  2. I am dizzy. This is quite a system. Very impressive.

  3. It is a very easy system, promise! As long as you have basic Excel skills. Honestly, I've been able to create my Thanksgiving shopping list in 15-30 minutes every year since I created the first excel spreedsheet.