Shabbat comes along every week, whether we are ready or not. Shabbat is our time of rest, our family day, and our spiritual high point for the week. And good food, too!
But how about erev Shabbat – Friday, just before Shabbat comes in? Are things a little crazy then – or even more than a little?
That’s the time when things always seem to go wrong, and when people can be rushing around trying to accomplish a lot (probably why things go wrong!) I tend to like my food better if it’s fresher, so that’s what I’m often doing in those last few minutes, but it could be other things: turning on/off lights, setting up the blech, checking for times, etc.
It’s time to try and manage the chaos that can break out before Shabbat!
The first key for me is to plan the menu early (here’s my customizable OJH Meal plan and grocery list). I try to do it on Sunday with the rest of our weekly meals, but often, it will have to be revamped as we add guests or make other plans. That’s okay – I already have a skeleton to work with, and I can just adjust what is needed. Planning early eliminates the what do I make blues.
Next, set up a schedule. You can be specific (listing each task, like washing and checking greens, making salad dressing, crunchy topping…) or general (each menu item assigned a day to make it). But setting up a schedule gives you a goal and helps you toward getting everything done on time (maybe even early?) It helps you think through what needs to be done and holds you accountable – even if it’s just to move something to a later day. Be sure to leave some extra time for the last minute things that come up – this is called margin time, and is a critical part of a functioning time budget.
Third, get together your shopping list (here’s a copy of my grocery list template) and be sure you have what you need on hand when you need it. I also have a copy of my staples there, and I circle whatever we’re running low on.
Next, get to it! Now is the time to roll up your sleeves and work. Include your regular weekly cleaning here, too – change the sheets? Fresh tablecloth? Clean the bathroom?
Last, make a printable Shabbat checklist (here’s my Shabbat checklist – it’s laminated and I usually don’t actually check it off so much as go though it. But you can use a dry-erase marker on laminated things, too). As things are getting close to time, you can review what needs to be done in an organized manner. Include things like lights, setting your blech, turning off computer, etc. Then run through it and be sure it’s all done – much quicker and easier than scrabbling around and hoping everything got done!
For a broader summary from week 4, check here.
I hope this overview helps you have an easier time preparing for Shabbat. And at candlelighting time, may you have an extra measure of peace.
Stay tuned this week for more on Shabbat – keeping the kitchen manageable, guests, and more. Any questions or comments?