Mind & Soul > Going to a Potluck on Turkey Day? Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas

Going to a Potluck on Turkey Day? Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas

These Thanksgiving dinner ideas are perfect if you’re invited to a potluck on turkey day and don’t know what to bring. Also included are tips on choosing the right wines for Thanksgiving dinner.

Before the Thanksgiving potluck tips, a quip:

“The funny thing about Thanksgiving, or any huge meal, is that you spend 12 hours shopping for it and then chopping and cooking and braising and blanching,” says Ted Allen. “Then it takes 20 minutes to eat it and everybody sort of sits around in a food coma, and then it takes four hours to clean it up.”

This is why I love, love, love potlucks on Thanksgiving! Turkey day is stressful enough without one person or couple being solely responsible for roasting the turkey, mashing the potatoes, baking the pumpkin pies, and on and on ….If you’re invited to a potluck on turkey day, these Thanksgiving dinner ideas will help you decide what to bring.

A Gourmet Thanksgiving Gift Basket is one of the best things to bring if you’re invited to a potluck on turkey day.

Invited to a Potluck on Turkey Day?

Ask the hostess what she needs. This is the first thing you do if you’re invited to a potluck on turkey day: ask the host or hostess what Thanksgiving dishes are needed. Offer to bring anything from pumpkin pie to a light shrimp cocktail appetizer. If the hostess needs you to cook the turkey (a tall order!), you might find How to Roast a Turkey in 7 Easy Steps helpful.

Offer your undivided assistance on turkey day. Cooking Thanksgiving dinner can be a time-consuming, stressful, overwhelming responsibility! Potlucks are easier, but can still be anxiety-provoking. If you’re invited for Thanksgiving dinner potluck, one idea is to offer your undivided help and total attention for a specific amount of time before or after dinner. You can be the gift recipient’s assistant cook and bottle washer – and she’ll be forever grateful. To help with planning turkey day, read 6 Decisions to Make Before Thanksgiving Day Dinner.

Round up the other guests, chairs, dishes, cutlery, etc for the turkey meal. Sometimes the best idea for a Thanksgiving potluck is practical stuff the hostess needs but doesn’t have, such as extra cushions for floor seating or extra wine glasses for the wine or punch. Another wonderful Thanksgiving dinner idea is to offer to pick up some of the other guests, especially if they don’t drive.

Take a bottle of wine – or two. Wine is a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner idea because the hostess can save it for later, or pop the cork immediately. If you want to get really elaborate, you also give a wine holder or wine armoire on turkey day — click the image just below for details.

If you’re taking wine to a potluck on turkey day, here are several things to consider…

How to Choose the Right Wine for Thanksgiving dinner

Thanksgiving wines can really vary,” says wine connoisseur Derrick Cousins, of Free House Wine & Spirits. “To impress without spending a lot of money, try a red Burgundy from the Cotes de Nuits, which is made from Pinot Noir grapes. It goes quite well with turkey, and its flavors mesh well with the other side dishes, such as mashed potatoes and cranberries.”

Derrick also suggests an inexpensive unoaked Chardonnay from BC or Australia.

Red Versus White Wine for Turkey?

“Red versus white wine comes down to personal preference,” says Derrick. “Just think about the food you’ll be eating. At Thanksgiving, you should consider the turkey – which is leaner than beef and will thus pair well with a leaner wine, such as a red Pinot Noir. The Barbaresco (from Northern Italy) is gaining more recognition lately.  Both are lighter on tannins (the ‘drying’ part of red wine) and should not overpower the flavor of your meal.”

A white Chardonnay is wonderful, because it’ll complement the turkey but also stand up well with side dishes (especially a nicely oaked California or French wine).

“For pumpkin pie,” he says, “I’d suggest a dessert wine – a good Sherry or even an Aussie Muscat will pair well due to the rich, sweet and nutty flavors they display.”

If you’re going to a potluck, you might also find Thanksgiving Gift Ideas for Turkey Day helpful – it can be nice to bring the hostess a thank-you gift or token of your appreciation.

If you have any questions or comments on what to take for Thanksgiving potluck dinner, please share below!

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