Holiday Entertaining – Autumn Edition: Menu for a Thanksgiving Feast
One of the most important things to do when planning your Thanksgiving, holiday, or general seasonal party is figuring out the menu! What you serve your guests will have a large impact on all the other entertaining planning factors.
The first thing you have to do in menu planning for a dinner party is consider what the major factors are. Every party, every gathering is different. Different guests mean different factors. In planning the menu for our ‘Thankful with Friends’ dinner party, I considered the following factors:
Number of Guests! How many people will be eating determines how much food to be prepared.
Dietary Needs! We have some of our guests coming that are vegan, vegetarian, or gluten-free. A good host want to accommodate those needs, while serving the needs of the group as a whole. As much as possible, you want to make everyone happy and feel honored that you considered their needs. But make sure that you are also including your food wishes as well.
Budget! Budgeting is always a factor (at least for us). Our menu needed to encompass affordable ingredients. I also looked at how we could utilize the things we already have in our pantry.
Homemade! I’m a big fan of making things from scratch. I wanted my menu to reflect that. Plus, homemade generally means spending less money.
No Extra Stress! Entertaining always brings with it a certain level of stress in getting everything prepared. What dishes can I feasibly make in a given time period without causing extra stress? For any dinner party larger than 4-6 people, I tend to shy away from making too many recipes that I’ve never tried before… especially ones that use techniques I may have less experience with. Saves on stress!
Leave Room For Change! This also helps a big deal with the stress level factor. I generally set out with a plan of attack with a list of dishes to make. I always, though, leave room for change and adjustment. If I’ve gotten to the day of and a certain side dish or dessert is going to put me over the edge, then I drop it. Just remember, it won’t be the end of the world.