Idea for de-stressing holiday menu-planning

A caller to a radio program discussing Thanksgiving traditions explained his family’s method for preventing family disagreements about the dishes to be served at holiday gatherings. Their “tradition” is that slips of paper for “entree”, “starchy side”, “green side”, etc., are drawn from a hat. This is easily scalable regardless of how many attend the holiday meal. Of course, you have to persuade everyone to agree to this system, including that there is to be no griping about what your relatives decide to contribute. Sometimes they also decided to stick to a given ethnic cuisine for a particular gathering.

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I used to keep a spreadsheet for our enormous Thanksgiving bashes – I asked people to let me know what they were bringing, but made it clear tht the only reason I was asking was so we didn’t end up with 5 dishes of baked sweet potatoes.

I did like the French tradition of asking if they could bring something sweet or savoury-- then you could keep the spread at least semi-balanced.

I think that sounds hilarious! I can see someone bringing lasagna and another bringing sweet potato souffle :smile:

Something to laugh about for years to come!

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Not a holiday menu that shared by several cooks but a dinner for 8 this Friday with 5-6 courses entirely cooked by me, guests including partner’s ex boss, now boss and wife etc. I think I will start panicking on Thursday and Friday. I always have a lag of 2 hours, meaning a meal starts at 8:30pm will in fact starts more at 10pm. Everything has been prepared beforehand. But there are still a lot of last minute preparation, some unanticipated accidents, and when guests starting to arrive, they all stood in the open kitchen, and handing me drinks and chatting. And the fact I’d would like to cook some first time recipes for each dinner party doesn’t help too.

Do you ask your guests before hand food they don’t eat?
In the past I did, only until this meal with a guest who didn’t eat meat (birds, pork, beef) and another guest didn’t eat fish and seafood (not due to sickness but personal preference).
My policy now is, just leave everything on the plate that you don’t want to eat, and leave me alone with my cooking and the choice of the rest of the guests. :imp:

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More booze. Whether your guest are stressed is not as big of a problem