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Jayscott's avatar

My old school friends and I are planning Thanksgiving potluck dinners. Though I promised to make all the arrangements and assigning tasks to people I am now confused on how to go about the whole planning process. Anyone who has done it out there, who can help me?

Asked by Jayscott (1points) November 27th, 2008
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10 Answers

buster's avatar

Are you going to call someone at 3 in the morning and say “I need dressing.”” Wake up I need it by noon!!!”

Sueanne_Tremendous's avatar

Errrr, umm, I hate to tell you this, but it is now Thanksgiving day and it would seem to be just a wee bit late to start planning. Maybe shoot for next year. Hit me up around Halloween and I’ll give you all you need to know about the planning process.

MacBean's avatar

Step One: Begin before the day of the meal.

daisy's avatar

Even though you are a little late. Hmmmm…. you can do this. Plan a simple menu. You may want to buy a smoked turkey that is already cooked to heat up and slice. The person who is hosting usually supplies the meat dish. Ask someone to make mashed potatoes (you can even buy these premade and frozen). You’ll need a gravy mix packet or jar of gravy is you use a precooked turkey. Ask someone to bring rolls, open a can of cranberry sauce, have someone buy a pumpkin pie, and a bag of frozen mixed veggies. They do sell frozen sweet potato patties in our grocery store which would fulfill the sweet potato requirement. Stove top stuffing is simple. You can pull it off even at this late hour! Good luck!

Remember it’s all about being grateful on this day. My daughter pulled off her first Thanksgiving dinner after she graduated from college using rotissorie chicken and most of what I mentioned here and she and her friends had a fabulous time. Good luck and have a wonderful day!

McBean's avatar

@daisy: Good answer!

@Jayscott: ‘Tis the season of celebrating the abundance and bounty of the harvest, so the menu really could be anything at all. It IS very late notice, but go for it anyhow and see what you turn up with. You may enjoy non-traditional foods so much that you make them a tradition.

As far as organizing the dinner goes, I say YOU provide the turkey, chicken, or ham (I’m assuming you live in the states near an ever-available, always-open grocery store) and assign each of your friends categories of :

1. Starchy side dishes (potatoes, rice, stuffing, even pasta)

2. Vegetables (cooked or as salads or crudites),

3. Condiments (gravy, cranberry sauce, relish tray)

4. Desserts (someone can at least hunt down a pumpkin pie for the “traditional”
part, but all desserts should be welcome)

5. Beverages (both soft and hard)

And then make sure you have plates, napkins, cups and/or glasses. Set everything out, say a group prayer or acknowledgment of thanks, and dig in!

That’s it! Happy Thanksgiving to you!

And next year, starting a little earlier will only make it better.

gailcalled's avatar

However bakes the turkey has to make the gravy, since you need the debris in the pan for the right flavor. Never buy gravy in a can.

And assign a few people for clean-up and servings.

daisy's avatar

I agree that gravy in a can/jar/mix packet isn’t the best but it will do in a pinch if you aren’t cooking the turkey.

Cardinal's avatar

Jayscott: Dude, it’s way too late, never promise to make arrangements for a high holiday, NEVER!

Jeruba's avatar

Just adding to Daisy’s excellent answer, which is about salvaging the present occasion, you do need to think about quantities. Consider what you expect each person to consume (make an estimate), multiply by the number of guests, and add a little. For instance, you could figure two potatoes per person. If using instant, look at the number of servings it says on the package. You might want to double that—12 package “servings” for 6 guests. Remember that some things take a bit longer to cook when you increase the quantities.

Or—you might want to see if a nearby grocery store or hotel is selling ready-to-go dinners and can take any last-minute orders. Split the cost.

If desperate, go for anything you can take out—Chinese, Italian, McBurgers—and repeat the favorite saying at our house: Next time let’s do it different. Celebrate the joy of being together with friends, and don’t worry about the food.

daisy's avatar

Jayscott, so what happened? How was your impromptu Thanksgiving dinner? Inquiring minds want to know.

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