First time hosting a Thanksgiving dinner? It can be quite distressing, especially if you want to pull off a traditional celebration and prepare everything as it is expected. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. Do you remember that last Friends Thanksgiving episode, where Monica says she doesn’t want to host the dinner because it’s a lot of food that ends up being wasted? Well, she was absolutely right, and she shouldn’t have listened to anybody because, let’s be honest, Thanksgiving dinner is delicious, but it’s not an absolute must.
The whole point of celebrating Thanksgiving is being with your loved ones and being grateful for what you have. Having said that, we can agree that a delicious meal is a great excuse to share, but you don’t have to spend all day in the kitchen to prepare something that requires so much effort and knowledge. The alternative is snack platters. I’m not kidding.
There’s nothing that a good platter of food won’t do, and fortunately for us who don’t have enough time (or, in my case, abilities to cook) they’re the perfect option to give your guests different flavors and options and, most importantly, keep everybody happy and pleased. So, let’s dive into some options.
This is probably the easiest platter to make, since you won’t need much, just some fresh chopped veggies. Now, the key to a perfect platter is contrasting flavors. And the way to do it is by adding options that are different from the group of food you’re setting as the protagonist.
In other words, if you’re adding a variety of vegetables, add some cheese or dips for contrast. Also, if you’re adding, let’s say, carrots, that don’t have a very strong flavor, add a piece of cheese or dip with a strong one to create the contrast. Same goes if you serve, for instance, beets; you’ll want to add a subtle contrast like cream cheese. This goes for any platter.
Cheese is the classic snack platter you’ll find in any party, but if you intend to make platters the stars of your dinner, you want to serve a really interesting cheese platter. Go crazy and add as many varieties of cheese as possible, considering textures and flavor intensity as well. Serve them with crackers, bread, vegetables, and if you want to be more creative, fruits. The combination of fruits with cheese is out of this world.
My favorite platter of them all: charcuterie or cold meats. This very Iberian setup is something those with a refined palate will appreciate at your Thanksgiving dinner party. Make sure you add the classics: jamón serrano (the classic Spanish cured ham), prosciutto, chorizo, salami, sausage, and mortadella. Remember that these meats tend to have a very strong flavor, so consider adding some regular ham or sliced turkey as well. And of course, some cheese, nuts, veggies, breadsticks, olives, and fruits!
This is a great choice to serve as appetizers, as all your guests arrive. Nuts go perfectly with certain types of neutral cheese like cheddar, dried fruits, fresh fruits like grapes, apples, and strawberries, and even chocolate, especially dark chocolate. The combination of salty (the nuts) with citrus and sweet is delicious.
After a great variety of salty flavors, it’s always a great idea to add a platter of fruits to change the pH of the tongue and get ready for the delicious dessert. Now, the only thing here is not to add fruits with a lot of juice since you’re serving on a platter and you don’t want all the juices spilling over the platter.
Last but not least, everyone’s favorite dessert. The easiest way is setting up a platter of candy and chocolate, though you can get creative and add all sorts of sweets like small cakes, cookies, and macaroons. If you want to keep it simple, just add your favorite kinds of chocolate and combine them with fruits, nuts, and salty snacks like pretzels to create that contrast.
As you can see, the only degree of difficulty with these dishes lies in going to the supermarket, slicing stuff, and setting the platters. Other than that, you won’t have any problem, and everybody will definitely be pleased. If you still want to prepare something traditional for Thanksgiving you can always treat your guests to these delicious drinks.
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