Thanksgiving is almost here, and that means most people are finalizing their guest lists, getting organized for all the traveling, and, most importantly, finalizing the dinner menu. I think it’s safe to say that, while this holiday is meant to celebrate friends, family, and bringing people together, we celebrate with food. It’s about putting aside your differences and enjoying a great feast prepared by everyone. But what if you can’t cook? What do you bring to a feast if you can only burn or severely undercook most foods? Well, here are some ideas to get you started.
1. Drinks: alcoholic or non-alcoholic
If you aren’t that great in the kitchen, there is one thing everyone is sure to love, and that is wine. Some families need alcohol during holiday gatherings. We’re on the same page with you here, people. But if you’d rather take a more kid-friendly approach, lemonade, sweet tea, or soft drinks are great choices too.
Sure, we’d all love a buttery, homemade roll fresh from the oven. I mean, it’s bread. But for those of us who aren’t confident in our bread-making skills, there are other options. We all know Sister Schubert makes a mean roll. Biscuits or a sliced Italian loaf are also great options.
Whenever we have a large gathering or holiday dinner in my family, we always have someone stop and get a bag of ice. The ice machine in the freezer only makes so much, and if your family is as big as mine is, your ice machine won’t be able to keep up! Or if you’re like me and don’t have an ice machine at all, a bag of ice comes in handy.
4. Snacks or appetizers
You don’t want people to get hungry while waiting for the food to finish cooking do you? That would be the worst. Everyone will more than likely be preparing themselves all day for the feast, so there are bound to be some growling stomachs when you arrive. Bring along a snack mix, dips, or cheese for a pre-feast snack.
5. Baked potatoes or sweet potatoes
So you really want to try to cook, but you need a recipe that is impossible to screw up. Try baked potatoes or sweet potatoes. Just poke each potato several times with a knife, wrap in foil, and bake on 350 for one hour. Then you can bring along different toppings so guests can create their preferred loaded potato.
6. Cups, plates, napkins, and utensils
Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be fancy! Check with whoever is hosting and see if they’re up for paper plates instead of fine china. Paper products might be the way to go if there’s going to be a large crowd. And hey, there are some pretty nice disposable plates and utensils out there these days.
7. Dessert from a local bakery
If dessert is your favorite course but baking isn’t your thing, pick up something from a local bakery. Thanksgiving is creeping up on us though, so make sure to factor in time if you place an order in advance. People are all about pies at Thanksgiving, but cakes, cheesecakes, and fruit crumbles are just as good.
OK, this isn’t food-related at all. But if cooking really isn’t your thing and you’d prefer not to even try, make a playlist! It can be something casual and quiet so everyone can still chat while stuffing their faces. Or if you need to fill in any awkward silences between conversations, go for some tunes with a little more noise.
9. A fruit and vegetable tray
Pick up a tray of fruits and vegetables at your favorite grocery store, or even a pre-made fruit salad. Use a decorative bowl or serving tray to class it up a bit.
Do you know what’s really good with a slice of apple pie and a scoop of vanilla ice cream? Coffee. Bring your favorite or your host’s favorite, and it couldn’t hurt to bring some decaf. Coffee can make a great hostess gift as well, especially if guests are staying the night and will be fed the next morning.
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