Thanksgiving will be here before you know it! Planning ahead will minimize stress, allowing you to enjoy the day with family and friends. If you’re expecting a crowd, consider serving your Thanksgiving feast buffet style.
As The Etiquette Advantage points out, it’s polite to provide Thanksgiving menu options that can be enjoyed by all guests, including those with dietary restrictions. For instance, our Beef Summer Sausage and gourmet cheeses are gluten free and make a perfect accompaniment to the meal or as an appetizer to keep guests happy while they wait.
Thanksgiving is a time to make special side dishes with your family’s own unique twists, from sweet potato soufflé and green bean casserole to stuffing and cranberry sauce. With fabulous side dishes, the main event needs to be just as good. A Hickory Farms spiral ham is a delicious solution that will not only impress guests, but also makes things easier on you, the host! Our Spiral Sliced Honeygold Ham is tender, moist and slightly sweetened with a bit of honey, making it a classic favorite at holiday meals.
With the menu planned, it’s time to lay out the buffet itself. Martha Stewart and The Kitchn provide some great tips on how to set up a buffet. Here are some of the most important ones to keep in mind:
For maximum efficiency and smooth traffic flow, use a table pulled away from the wall. That way, the line will be directed around the table and guests won’t have to reach over one dish to get to another.
Arrange your buffet table so that plates come first, then entrees, side dishes, bread and salad. Silverware wrapped in napkins should be placed at the end, so guests don’t have to hold it while loading their plates.
Make sure to include condiments and sauces for the various dishes. Our specialty mustards and preserves, like Sweet Hot Mustard, Cranberry Mustard and Orchard Preserves, are great with honey ham, turkey and gourmet meats.
Don’t forget to put out serving utensils! Each dish should have its own tongs, serving fork, etc., and a saucer or dish to set it on, so your table linens stay clean.
Fill in holes in your Thanksgiving tablescape with small bowls of gourmet nuts.
Use stations to make the line more manageable. In addition to your main food table, consider a separate beverage station and dessert station.
When choosing serving dishes, try to use items with different heights. Tiered servers, plate stands and other items can help you create a buffet that is more attractive and easier to use.
And last, but definitely not least, make sure to have a trash receptacle easily accessible. You don’t want anyone leaving trash on your beautiful buffet spread.
If you’re going to be a guest rather than a host for Thanksgiving this year, enjoy being the recipient of all that hard work and preparation, but be sure to let your hosts know how much you appreciate their work by bringing a gourmet gift basket or one of our festive wine gifts.
How do you manage Thanksgiving dinner for a crowd? We’d love to hear about your own Thanksgiving buffet tips and family traditions, so leave us a comment!