What Should I Bring for Thanksgiving?

Greetings Braintrust-

It’s the Friday before Thanksgiving and I’m trying to plan what I’ll bring to my aunt’s house for Thanksgiving. In past years, I brought fried a turkey. This year, I’ve volunteered to bring apps and a side.

Rumaki aka bacon wrapped dates (Aunt)
brie with 2 kinds of Virginia chutney (plum, cranberry) (me)
soy sauce shitakes (from Momofuku) (me)

Main: turkey
Side: corn bread dressing (MIL)
maybe corn souffle? (MIL)
spinach casserole (Aunt)
dressing (Aunt)
gravy (Aunt)

Dessert: two pecan pies (MIL)
pumpkin pie (Aunt)

Other things to be aware of:
My aunt tends to be late for everything. It’s at her house and I’m concerned she’ll flake out on some of her commitments, so the apps may need to last longer than originally intended.
There will be 14 of us. No real food avoidance issues I’m aware of.
This meal will take place in NC

I think the meal is very much on the sweet side of the spectrum, if we have a sweet app (rumaki) & 2) corn dishes…
Should I bring anything else or anything different?


It took me a minute to realize that apps are not Apple apps or Andriod apps.

Very nice. I think it is a pretty nice lineup.

Maybe some kind of sweet potato side dish. Often they can be warm, not hot.

LOL - me too. What IS this world coming to?

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:stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes: Yeah. I thought tomheartstacos wants to make and then bring the main entrees like turkey and corn bread, and yet bring the apps (some kind of recipe apps) for making the rumaki, brie and shitakes and make these dishes in his aunt’s house.

See, I even made up an entire story why bring a smart phone app makes sense.

It wasn’t until I read “so the apps may need to last longer…”. It wasn’t until then I said… hmm, this does not make sense.

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I agree that it looks sweet - you’ve actually got two sweet apps if you count the brie and chutney as a sweet (which I would). I would bring something truly savory instead of the brie (or in addition to, since you said the app hour tends to go long) - sausage balls, maybe, or pigs in blankets (you can make these nicer by using puff pastry and high quality sausage). Spiced nuts or popcorn would be good too, or some sort of lighter vegetable preparation (endive leaves and/or cherry tomatoes with a filling or dip, etc.), since you don’t want people to fill up on super-rich things even if the app hour does drag on a bit.

As for the side dish, I would go with a green vegetable in a non-creamy/casserole presentation, since you have plenty of those already. Sauteed haricots verts with a vinaigrette would be nice, or roasted broccoli, or maybe sauteed shredded Brussels sprouts. All of those would give you an interesting texture. I don’t see any potatoes on the list - maybe a potato dish as well, to fill that void?

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Excellent feedback so far! I do like the idea of a savory dish to balance the sweet. By the way, I generally cook meat and/or Asian flair. I may expand the shiitake pickle offering to several pickles that I prepared when fermentation was a hobby last year.

The brie is like a chord in the bass clef played by an orchestra. It’s one of the best starters I’ve had. I was first served it at Whole Foods. You take a middle of the road brie (I used the Whole Foods store brand brie), really good local peanuts and Spicy Plum chutney from Virginia Chutney. Here’s what it looked like last time I did it. For T’giving, I’ll class up the presentation.

Green veg is a good idea. Here in NC, the farmer’s market has lots to choose from. Can anyone come up with a non-cream based dish that I can prepare ahead? I’m assuming that I’ll have limited access to heat, so could I roast cauliflower ahead of time and re-heat? There’s a dish from Momofuku with cauliflower that I love, but I’m concerned fish sauce is out of bounds for the Thanksgiving Day table.

Thanks again!


I like green bean casserole, but you already have a spinach casserole… so I am not sure if that is too much of an overlap. What about something totally different like collard green?

I haven’t tried it yet but there are several curried sweet potato recipes out there, if you want savory but keeping the Thanksgiving theme.

Publix had an amazing recipe for Brussels sprouts this week* – you just saute a pound of Brussels sprouts (washed and quartered) in jarred pesto sauce and some minced garlic, then top with chopped oregano and tomato-basil feta cheese.

scroll down about halfway

Everyone around me who tried it was blown away at how tasty it was – and lots of people who said they hate Brussels sprouts but thought this was delicious.

(*Publix has their Aprons cooking program - every week they publish a meal that can be put together in 30 minutes or so – and they serve samples of this menu right during the after-work-what-do-I-make-for-dinner rush. To make it easy, they have shelves and a small refrigerator section right behind the sample kitchen so you can grab the recipe and all the ingredients in one quick stop. They’re pretty good on keeping it as real food, as opposed to processed blech.)

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How about a big salad as a side?

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I agree with some salad- the mains seem a bit rich and something light would be nice for balance.

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I don’t EVER do the traditional Thanksgiving so all that heaviness is very off-putting to me. And I’m not even a salad person :slight_smile: I’m doing a Kenji recipe of pear slices cooked in butter over arugula with shaved Parm and a balsamic soy vinaigrette.

That sounds delish!

Are you sure this is a soy sauce shiitake kind of crowd…? You know your audience best. Expanding on that with additional pickled or quick pickled veggies sounds perfect for an app before a heavy meal.

I would definitely bring a vegetable side- i suspect spinach casserole is more spinach flavored cheese casserole than a veg side.
Cauliflower steaks are fun and make a great presentation, easy to cook a bunch at once in the oven. I like this recipe with the bright herb sauce but you can skip it all together, or just drizzle with good olive oil and lemon juice once done, etc. keep the crumbly parts to make cauliflower soup or whatever another day

Is the group anti-cranberry sauce?? I don’t see that here…

Here are my latest thoughts 1) cold appetizer platter with the soy sauce shiitakes, vinegar pickled carrots, marcona almonds, shaved country ham, +1 cold app 2) the brie plate with two chutneys (one is Cranberry-based). My side: green veg, I’ll probably do a simple salad using what I find at the farmer’s market Tuesday.

I find the apps on the sweet side, which doesn’t always appeal to me before a meal. How about some roasted nuts in a bowl? Or even a selection… roasted with rosemary, roasted with cajun spices, roasted with just salt. They are easy to make, easy to transport, and can be made ahead.

I think for a side a bitter winter green salad with some fruit could be a lovely addition. Radicchio or Endive come to mind as I read the rest of your menu. One year I made one from Ottolenghi which I remember fondly. [Great idea! I need to look this up and add the ingredients to my shopping list.]

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Not sure you need the ham with the apps but you know your audience best there. Sounds like a great assortment

For the salad i always like to add one stronger flavored green or fresh herb- like arugala or radicchio, even just one big handful of flat leaf parsley. A sprinkle of toasted pumpkin seeds, or some chopped walnuts for crunchy, and a often something a bit unexpected like chopped dried figs, or a sprinkle of capers, or crunchy chickpeas… I would stick to a vinegrette a bit heavy on the vinegar to balance the rest of the meal.

Beverages ?

Thanks for the great feedback everyone.

There will be wine & cocktails available. I imagine most will drink some sort of red. I’m a craft beer drinker, so I will be having an IPA.