Before shopping, I take a printout of this list and go on a little walk-about through the kitchen to make sure I actually need everything on the list. Itís amazing how often I forget that I already have lots of an ingredient tucked away in the pantry.
Not only does this spreadsheet serve as a well organized shopping list, it gives you great flexibility throughout the feast planning process. For example, have you ever painstakingly worked your way through the cookbooks, writing down your shopping list for the feast, only to find out a few days later that 10 extra devotees will be coming? It can be very difficult to revise your shopping list at the last minute when you need to change quantities, add or delete a recipe, or make other changes.
Using a digital shopping list saves me from a mistake Iíve often made in the past: when changing a menu item, Iíd scratch the ingredients off my shopping list, forgetting that another recipe also called for some of an ingredient I just scratched! With the spreadsheet system, I can make changes to the line-item ingredients section up top, and within seconds, copy/paste and re-sort a completely fresh list. Or, I can simply adjust quantities in the shopping list section at the bottom.
I usually print the whole spreadsheet and carry it with me on shopping trips. I cut out the shopping list section at the bottom to carry around the store, and pocket the rest of the list. Then, if I canít find an important ingredient or a vegetable is out of season, the full printout gives me a quick reference for all the preps that will be affected, so I can decide on the spot how to adapt the menu.
In the "Preparations Schedule" section, you'll find another use for this spreadsheet, which doubles as a cooking to-do list. Keep in mind that when you re-use a feast menu spreadhsheet at a later date, you'll want to re-check your master list against the recipes. There may be some staple ingredients you had on hand the first time that aren't on the list, but are needed the next time around.