Saturday, November 20, 2010

Thanksgiving Pot Luck

Because this holiday requires a big meal with many dishes, many folks organize the dinner as a pot luck or covered dish.  By that I mean you have friends and family bring prepared dishes with them, so the host(ess) doesn't have to do all of the cooking.  Even with that, as every host will tell you, it's still plenty of work to set up these events.  Not only do you have to provide the table settings and fill in here and there with missing dishes, it's best if you try to coordinate who will bring what dish.  If not, you might end up with lots of desserts and no side dishes.  Hopefully your crowd is there to help you clean up afterwards as well!

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Most hosts I know generally end up preparing the main course... usually turkey and sometimes with additional items like ham, roast beef or even pasta.  Last year this is just the way we handled it.  I let the guests sign up for a category of food using Evite.com to manage the process.  I set the tables and served up the turkey (in this case two of them, one smoked and one roasted.)  We did a deep fried turkey on the patio several prior years, which was delicious and provided entertainment at the same time.  A covered dish dinner works amazingly well and does remove lots of the work and stress associated with preparing a complex meal.  Of course, there are times when I've been known to insist on doing it all myself or with just a single friend at my side, just because I wanted to say I/we did it.  While it's fun and perhaps more elegant, you can't beat the variety or commroderie that you get from having everyone pitch in by making a favorite dish over which we can all ohh and ahh, and of course, ask for the recipe.

Whatever you're doing this Thanksgiving, I hope you are enjoying it.  The holidays are all about being with friends and family and enjoy traditions together.  And of course this holiday is about giving thanks for all of the many bounties we have.  I'm truly thankful for all life has given me and wish you all the best as we enter the annual holiday season.

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