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Law Firm CIO Uses Excel Spreadsheets to Manage Thanksgiving Preparations

Nov 21, 2012, 12:15 pm CST


In other news, a woman in Tampa used the Internet to find a recipe for green bean casserole.

By Fred on 2012 11 21, 3:01 pm CST

"cheesecake"??? "turkey breast on the rotisserie"??

No mention of turkey fried in peanut oil (as God intended), or homemade pumpkin pie?

Although I appreciate Ms. Horgan's sense of organization, but you have to get the menu right before you do anyting.

By Yankee on 2012 11 21, 3:19 pm CST

I truly feel sorry for this person. Can you imagine the mental trauma she must suffer if, for example, Uncle Fred brings his new girl friend and she wasn't in the spreadsheet? Or what if the person assigned to bring pumpkin pie decided to bake sweet potato pie instead?

By Fred on 2012 11 21, 6:07 pm CST

There is no need to feel sorry for Linda. Instead, she is to be congratulated for her organizational skills. Dinner for 40 in her home is no small endeavor. With her planning, her systems and her checklists, she is well prepared for any surprises that may come up. Everyone should take a lesson from her!

By Vicki on 2012 11 22, 3:09 am CST

Systems, spreadsheets and checklists for dinner for 40? That's extra work that no one needs on a holiday. If you think you're prepared for every contingency when you throw a party, chances are you are the sort of person who is too tightly wound to interact with people--and there's a high probability the crowd will go elsewhere if they have the opportunity. This will leave Linda wondering how many different turkey casseroles she can force-feed her family during the coming month before they revolt. Do ya think she found an app for that?

I have two rules when I invite people for Thanksgiving: (1) anyone wearing formal attire will be asked to dine on the patio, and (2) anyone who brings that disgusting green been, mushroom soup and Durkee onion casserole will be shot as soon as they set foot on my driveway!

By BMF on 2012 11 22, 4:48 am CST

Each year I host about 120 people for New Years Day. I personally cook four or five kinds of chili with all the fixin's, all kinds of finger foods, deserts, drinks, you name it. Because I'm not anal retentive I have never used a spreadsheet or even lists. I know that for 120 people I'll get about 200 plates, bowls, and cups. Five kinds of chili means I'll need five crock pots. It's just not rocket science. So yes, I feel very sorry for this person because not only does she worry herself to death, but I suspect the people around her are not excited about it either.

By Fred on 2012 11 22, 11:50 pm CST

@5 ". . . disgusting green been, mushroom soup and Durkee onion casserole . . ."

I agree that this recipe is disgusting. However, I suggest that you take just a little bit of the nasty stuff, pour a generous amount of turkey gravey on it, and it will go down just fine. No reason to start any gun play over the casserole.

By Yankee on 2012 11 23, 4:25 am CST

This would only have been interesting if she had shared the spreadsheets!

By Gwen on 2012 11 23, 7:15 pm CST

@ Fred: Thanks for your input. After I posted, I wondered if perhaps I was a bit too harsh on Linda, because I love cooking, I had worked in restaurants during college, and am a closet "Masterchef" junkie. Naaaah! Cooking on a large scale usually boils down to time management and portion control. The portion control aspect comes from experience--e.g.: A fresh turkey under 14 1bs.usually has 2-3 lbs. of bone and water weight; a turkey over 15 ibs. has 3-5 lbs. of bone and water weight. With a few minutes of practice and a diabetic food scale, anyone can master the art of slicing a cooked turkey breast into perfect 5 oz. or 8 oz. slices., and arranging them on the plate so that people are most likely to take only one serving at a time if they serve themselves.

But the time management aspect is key. IMHO, every attorney should do a summer internship in "Hell's Kitchen" so they can figure out how to apply preparation and time management skills to their work without relying on lists, spreadsheets, or systems. The primary takeaways are to plan backwards from your zero hour/deadline, build in time--because nothing ever goes as planned, and do as much of the scut work in advance as possible.

By BMF on 2012 11 23, 7:20 pm CST

Now I know why so many restaurants do so well on T-day. One does not need a spreadsheet to make a reservation.

By AndytheLawyer on 2012 11 26, 5:18 pm CST

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