I am not a fan of potlucks.
The odd summer barbecue aside, when I offer to cook, I intend to deliver. I would no more expect a guest to provide the stuffing for my turkey than I would ask a friend to gift-wrap her own birthday present.
So when it comes to contributions, I keep it simple — for myself and guests. At the top of my share-and-share-alike list is beverages.
Everyone’s concerned about the cost of Thanksgiving dinner (on average, it went up 13 percent this year), but beer and wine, even sparkling cider, if you’re so inclined, are plenty spendy, too. Plus, if I ask everyone to BYOB or designate one person to deliver, I don’t have to worry about satisfying a wide range of tastes.
My friend’s solution is to hit up the new bottle shop Beerworks in Medford and assemble some mixed six-packs with the promise of one stout for me. The only reason I didn’t assign wine is because I’m counting on Thanksgiving to thin out my own inventory.
Next on the list is breads. Although I’m well aware of the sentiment that yeast breads aren’t that hard to make, it’s one multistep process that I can simply eliminate. Even brown-and-serve rolls require precious oven space in the minutes before laying out the spread.
So I asked another friend to plan on bringing rolls, knowing full well that he would never settle for grocery-store baked goods and would hit up a local artisan bakery in Ashland. The only effort on his part is asking around, probably pre-ordering and picking them up the day before Thanksgiving. No muss, no fuss. As long as there’s plenty of butter and cranberry sauce, who cares if they aren’t fresh out of the oven?
Of course, baking for some is practically a state of Zen, the calm before the storm, as the writer of a recent Minneapolis Star Tribune article alluded. If you’re of that bent and want to tackle your own rolls this holiday, check out the recipe on our Holiday 101 page.