Potlucks by their nature are a casual affair, but still present opportunity for hiccups. Guests may forget crucial elements, some might arrive late, and reheating food can be tricky. Ensure that your Thanksgiving is a success by following these guidelines if you’re hosting a turkey day potluck.
Check your kitchen cabinets for…
- Extra glasses, stemware and utensils—and don’t forget serving bowls and platters, either. Though it’s a smart move to ask your guests to bring something to serve their dish in and something to serve it with, chances are at least one person will forget. In a pinch, a liquid measuring cup can work for gravy; mashed potatoes can be served with a wooden spoon.
- Trivets, potholders, and dishtowels to protect your table from hot casserole dishes and pots. These are easy to forget but invaluable.
At the store, be sure to pick up…
- Butter and cream. A variety of Thanksgiving mishaps can be fixed with these dairy wonders: whipped cream can camouflage the cracked top of a pumpkin pie, soggy stuffing gets brown and crisp when dotted with butter before reheating, dry mashed potatoes can be revived with more butter and a splash of cream.
- A few extra bottles of wine. This applies even if some guests are planning to bring alcohol as their contribution to the meal. Not only will you want to have something to offer the first arrivals, but you’ll also be prepared if your guests are of the extra-thirsty variety.
- Tinfoil, plastic wrap, and plenty of inexpensive resealable containers, like deli containers (to divvy up leftovers, assuming you choose to divvy up leftovers).
- A way to designate who made each dish. We like place cards, but sticky notes will work, too. Part of the fun of a potluck is discovering new recipes; facilitate this by making it easy to determine who made what. (This also makes it easier for everyone to dole out compliments.) Consider asking your guests to note if a dish is vegetarian or if it contains any major allergens as well.