The season is upon us.
It’s time to plan dinner for the holidays, but which items are most appropriate?
According to research conducted by Food and Wine magazine, the American palate is notoriously uninterested in holiday-appropriate fare.
Here are some tips to help you get the best of both worlds: Make it easy to share The idea of sharing a meal with your family isn’t that difficult, but it’s worth noting that the less we know about a recipe, the easier it is to find mistakes.
“It’s easier to find things you don’t know,” says Kate Zebrowski, a professor of food science and nutrition at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
“You can say, ‘What’s in that?'”
If you’re cooking a holiday dinner, be open about what you’re eating.
“Make it clear in the kitchen that it’s not a traditional Thanksgiving dinner,” says Zebrowksi.
“What is it?
What are the ingredients?”
When planning a meal, keep a record of what you buy and where you’re buying it.
“Use this guide to find the best price on food online,” says J.M. DeMocker, co-founder of Food and Wines.
And, be prepared to explain your dish to guests, as Zeblowwski recommends that guests get their ideas from their families and the family itself.
Be mindful of what to buy This year, Zebroski and DeMockers recommend opting for items that are inexpensive and easy to eat.
“We recommend avoiding dishes that are high in calories,” Zebrosski says.
“The ones that are low in calories are good for you.”
“Try to buy items that you can make on the spot,” says DeMocks.
“Buy your produce, meats, beans, cheese, etc.,” says Zechs.
“If you have to cook it, you’ll probably have a lot of leftover ingredients.”
(You can also try to cook your own Thanksgiving dinner, and be sure to use local ingredients.)
Make it fresh to help your guests The food court at your local mall might not have the most seasonal menu, but they’re a great place to stock up on holiday-inspired treats.
“Food court items are typically cheaper than a supermarket, so they’ll probably be more affordable than what you’ll be getting at the restaurant,” says Tanya Gebes, food and beverage director at the New York City Public Library.
“So, you can go to the food court and have Thanksgiving dinner with a group of people, which is usually really fun,” she says.
But if you’re planning a family dinner, it’s important to plan ahead.
“I try to avoid having Thanksgiving dinner parties, and instead have Thanksgiving dinners with friends and family,” says Gebers.
“That way, the food will be fresh and the guests will have a great experience.”
“I always think of the family as the ultimate group, so if you can get some great holiday dinner ideas with a bunch of family members, it makes a big difference,” says Meghan Linn, food editor at the Los Angeles Times.
“But if you just have to have a big party with a few friends, you may as well make it Thanksgiving dinner.”
The good news is, if you have kids, you might not need to do much preparation to make sure you have a holiday meal that’s appropriate for all.
“When I was pregnant with my second child, I made Thanksgiving dinner and made it for him every year,” says Linn.
“He loved it.
He wanted to have it.
And I think my kids are going to love it, too.”
If you want to keep up with what’s on the menu this year, follow Food and Beverage Magazine on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest.