Do you have a signature dish? Is there something that you are often asked to bring to a potluck or holiday meal? Or, are you trying to think about what you might take to an upcoming event?
I've been considering my tabouli with chickpeas. It is best made ahead. It will be a complete protein for vegetarians, a boon to those trying to eat fewer calories, and it's delicious.
Food Gathering Season
We are about to step into the season of food gatherings. Thanksgiving dinners, potluck suppers, cookie swaps, open houses, Hanukkah celebrations, Feasts of the Seven Fishes, Christmas meals, and New Years rites all have food traditions that we follow.
Today, many of these events are cooperative efforts. While a few hosting families may insist on doing the whole thing, more often than not, an offer to bring something will be met with a sigh of relief.
Our friend Bob Oppenheim is assigned the vegetable side dishes for his family’s holiday table. He jokes that this is because the vegetables are the most work. But, it may also be that dishes like his roasted root vegetables have become a favorite among the folks at these events with even fussy eaters finding something they love in the mix.
Here's our post: Roasted Root Vegetables: Treasure for the Busy Cook
What's Your Talent?
If you’ve mastered artisan bread baking, you could bring the bread and rolls for the meal. If you’ve preserved the foods from your garden, you might offer a relish tray of pickles and chutneys.
In my family, Uncle Freddie brought the pies. He was a great baker and his raisin pie was legendary. Not every cook is a good baker, so pies and cakes are often delegated to those with a talent for sweets.
Contributions for Non-Cooks
Dessert offerings are also a great choice for someone who doesn’t cook. Those who don’t cook at all often know the best places to shop for very good prepared foods. A pie, cake, or tray of cookies is relatively easy to transport, even on the MBTA, and is one less task for the hostess.
Another option for the non-cook to offer is a cheese platter or a large wedge of a special cheese. One reason I often suggest a large wedge instead of an assortment is that it can make for a great presentation, even after a few people have feasted on it. And, it's easier to pack up and put away in good condition after the meal. I would suggest something like Cabot Clothbound Cheddar, Moliterno al Tartufo, or a wheel of a semi-soft cheese.
Let us know what you're asked to bring or love to bring to food gatherings.
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Words: Penny & Ed Cherubino
Photos: ©2009-2014 Penny & Ed Cherubino with the Cabot Clothbound Cheddar Cheese photo courtesy of Cabot Creamery.