|be the perfect host/ess||.||
A few logistical considerations should also come into play as you’re making the big decision. Namely, you’ll want to bear in mind that your host/ess’s oven will almost certainly be doing turkey duty, and that stove and counter space may well be required for last-minute work on gravy, stuffing and other goodies. If at all possible, then, try to avoid making anything that would require last-minute fussing at your host/ess’ house. Casseroles are perfect as they’ll generally keep warm enough until mealtime as long as you cover them up during transport – you can help keep them toasty by covering with foil, wrapping in a towel or two, and popping it in a cooler (which, contrary to its name, is just an insulated box that helps whatever’s inside maintain its temperature). Cold and room temperature dishes like bean and green salads are another smart choice. Alternatively, consider a crockpot concoction like soup or chili; fix it up in your crockpot, secure the lid tightly with foil, carefully schlep the whole shebang to the party and plug it in.
If after careful consideration of all the options, you’re dead-set on making some food that will need to be stored in the fridge or reheated prior to mealtime, make sure to check with your host/ess first that this will be doable. Meanwhile, regardless of what dish you decide on, remember to bring serving utensils so guests can dig into your culinary masterpiece.
But what to do if your kitchen skills are decidedly, uh, non-existent? If you’re a non-cook and the thought of having to generate something edible for a big crowd of your friends send you into a panic, feel free to offer a no-cooking-required contribution. Beverages are always good; fresh bread or pie from a good bakery is also nice. If you do go the bakery route, however, make sure to confirm that your bakery will actually be open for Thanksgiving business, and order ahead if at all possible, as any bakery worth its salt will be flooded with business for the day. If you’re still worried you’re not making enough of an offering for the festivities, get the host/ess some fresh flowers as well. Just make sure to pick up an inexpensive vase in which to bring the bouquet, so your host/ess isn’t forced to run around all over the apartment trying to hunt down a suitable vessel.
Arriving with some kind of tasty consumable is de rigueur at a potluck, but for extra brownie points, it’s also nice to see if there’s anything else you might be able to do help the host/ess out. After all, even with cooking duties shared, getting one’s house ready for the gang can be a lot of work. Ask your host/ess whether they could use help setting up before other guests arrive, or offer to pitch in with the post-party cleanup. If you’re a bit strapped for time yourself, you can still make yourself useful: check to see whether they need you to bring any extra utensils or plates, or if they want you to pick up any disposable paper goods.
With everyone pitching in for the big day, you’ll likely find the day such a stress-free, belly-sating success that a new tradition will be born. Before the last of the leftover turkey has even been divvied up, folks might already be asking, “So, who’s hosting next year?”
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