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Thanksgiving Potlucks for Shitty Cooks

It’s Thanksgiving potluck season, and that either means you (like us) will be slaving away in the kitchen to produce sumptuous dishes that sweat with animal fats and glisten with salty gravy, or (like many) you’ll be sweating like a nervous pig on auction day as you try to come up with something to mask the fact that you can’t tell the difference between a skillet and a saucepan.

Thankfully, we’re here to help. And for most of these Thanksgiving shindigs, the important (and difficult) things like turkey, stuffing, gravy, cranberries, and potatoes are taken care of by someone who takes inordinate pleasure in showing off their cooking (also, like us). But all those main dishes take time and energy and leave their cooks with depleted resources for taking care of everything else that is necessary for a proper, gut-busting feast. Here are some things you can bring to the table that other people may have overlooked in the mad scramble to finish the gravy, brown the gratin, and carve the bird.

Decent bread. Yea, the pungent, natural levain kind, fired in a commercial oven so its crust is, well, crusty, while its crumb is sumptuously tangy and moist. People can make this at home pretty easily, if they have a dutch oven and an unoccupied stove to put it in, but, this being Thanksgiving, that probably isn’t the case. So, offer to bring a couple loaves. (Olive batard, anyone?)

Hor d’oeuvres. These are easy because you can pay someone else to do them for you. Get some crackers and cheese, or a spread of nuts, some cornichons and pickled onions, berries, or something else to nibble on while you drink something loosening before getting down to eating the main course.

Martinis. Gin and vermouth, stirred with ice, strained and served up with the garnish of your choice. If you’re reading this sentence, you can make a martini. And if you really can’t, bring an aperitif wine.

Fancy vanilla ice cream. To go with the pumpkin pie someone else baked.

Port or sherry. For after dinner sipping. (Still bring the martini and/or aperitif.)

Pumpkin beers, and a pumpkin beers zine. Because who doesn’t want to read about the pumpkin beers you just brought?