As the holiday season goes into full swing, many of us will be going full-throttle from one party to the next in a mad effort to pack on weight before the January hibernation. As each week draws to a close and the Saturday evening party at Aunt Martha’s house draws nearer, one must make a decision on what dish to take to the potluck.
The best side dishes are ones which will allow you to enjoy the gathering. Dishes which will add to the holiday season rather than bring stress from the preparation or consumption. A great holiday party side dish should be fairly easy to prepare, easy to transport, and still taste great an hour or two later if meal time ends up being pushed later than expected. With that having been said, here are a few simple rules to aid in the process.
1. Easy to Prepare
This one is not so much a firm rule as it is a suggestion. The basic principal here is that the perfect dish should bring enjoyment to your day. If the process of spending hours upon hours going through dozens of steps in an attempt to create a perfect dish is your idea of a perfect Saturday afternoon, then by all means, cook away! However, if you’re going to arrive at the party exhausted and stressed from hours of preparation, dial it down a few notches. A simple Pinterest search of “Easy Holiday…” will produce a plethora of stunning possibilities.
2. Easy to Transport
Easy of transport is an important step with a few different aspects. The first and obvious being the ability to pack it into the car along with the various “White Elephant” gifts and get it to the party intact. If you’ve volunteered to bring a pot of green beans, it might fit the first criteria of being “easy,” but if one isn’t careful, it’s entirely possible to end up at Aunt Martha’s party with green bean juice all over the floorboard of the car!
"...I'm really sorry! I made more beans than this, but they're all over the floorboard behind the drivers seat."
Another aspect in the “ease of transportation,” category has to do with the condition your dish will be in if the dinner hour tarries.
"Uncle Henry is running about an hour late." Aunt Martha said. "I told him we'd wait to eat dinner."
If you’ve brought a nice piping hot pot of your secret family recipe fish-soup (OK, nobody does this, but it illustrates my point,) you’re going to want to eat that stuff piping or not at all. An hour or so passes, the fish juices congeal, and bingo, you’re going home with a still mostly-full pot of soup.
"I just don't get it," his wife said, "I never have leftovers of my famous fish-soup."
Fred was afraid to tell her, but he hadn't eaten any of his wife's "famous" soup either.
3. Tastes Great
This last one would seem obvious, but we’ve each been to that potluck dinner where someone seemed not to possess the mental fortitude to prepare a desirable dish.
Steve just couldn't figure it out. Why wasn't anyone eating any of his chili-cheese-dog casserole. True, it'd have probably been better when it was still hot, but still...
Bacon Wrapped Little Smokies! Hey, they’re easy to prepare, easy to transport, and nobody has ever been to a party where there were leftover’s of these tasty little nuggets. They’re good piping-hot, they’re good luke-warm, and they’re still good at room temperature.
Make a dish that enhances your holiday experience, not one that leaves you stressed and ends up diminishing the day.