Are you a Thanksgiving dinner guest? Here's how to be an awesome one
November 23, 2014
If you have a serious allergy or other DAMN GOOD REASON not to eat major components of the dinner, notify the host ASAP. But if you just started eating Paleo last Thursday, you should probably just be a gracious guest and just eat what's in front of you, even though you read on The Food Babe that stuffing has the same ingredients as your yoga mat, and that marshmallows cause brain rot. Either way, offer to bring something that you like to eat/ can eat, and worst case, you just stick to that.
Show up almost exactly 15 minutes after the designated time. Thanksgiving is a tough meal to time, and chances are, the hosts are running a little behind. Or if they are super heroes, give them a chance to just sit for 10 minutes and relax before they have to hop back up to stir the gravy. Whatever you do, don't show up early, or more than a half hour late-- that will throw off the timing of everything, and stress out the person who's no-doubt planned the timing of the dinner.
If you aren't responsible for a dish, you should at least bring wine. A decent bottle, not what's on special on the endcap at Wal-Mart. Or maybe a fun cocktail, or drinks for kids? Or if that's all taken care of, how about a cool hostess gift? Flowers? A fun, family-friendly game you can play after the meal? Just don't show up empty-handed.
If you are responsible for a dish, MAKE IT AT HOME. Do not show up with a bag of cranberries, and then ask for a pot, sugar, orange juice, a sprig of rosemary, a serving dish and spoon, then take up valuable real estate on the stove. Better yet: Show up with a finished dish that can be served room temperature, chilled, or BRIEFLY warmed. In YOUR OWN serving dish.
Offer to help cook. If the host declines your help, offer to pour drinks for people, or take coats or some other task that relieves the hosts of some responsibility. If the hosts have put food out in a certain room to start, that is the subtle way of telling you where they want you to hang out. Hint: No matter what, it's probably not leaning against the fridge or in front of the oven.
If no one else does, propose a toast-- and thank the host for a great meal. And even if the white meat is dry and the gravy is lumpy, your job is to MMMMM, MMMMMMM and MMMMM some more.
Words you shouldn't utter at the Thanksgiving table: Immigration bill. Mitch McConnell. Obamacare. Hillary. Jeb. The NRA.
(Wait until the after-dinner scotch comes out, at least).
After the meal is over, GET OFF YOUR ASS (ahem, MEN!), and HELP CLEAN UP! Clear the table, wrap up leftovers, scrape food into the compost bin, get on dish duty-- SOMETHING! Even if the hosts love to throw parties, love to cook, and love to host, no one loves to clean up. And if everyone pitches in we can all be done with this nonsense in a half hour.