Thanksgiving Countdown Corner Nov. 18: For those who do not cook

Loretta Gillespie

Thanksgiving Countdown Corner Nov. 18:

For those of you who don't cook, here is a great way to contribute to your office Thanksgiving party.

The Countdown Corner has brought you up to the one week countdown, and we’ve shown you how to save time and headaches by staying ahead of the game, and after today, we will share more recipes, but first, we want to acknowledge that there are those of you who simply don’t cook, either because you don’t have time, or you tried it once and it didn’t work out for you. Never fear, there are ways to get around that. Here are a tried and true, reliable dish and ways to feed people that don’t involve cooking, well, at some point everyone should learn to boil an egg…

If you have to take a dish to work and you don’t want to bring something from the grocery store bakery, look around in the cheese case and choose a couple of good, interesting looking varieties of cheese. If you aren’t sure, try Kaukauna / Double Sharp, it should please even the most refined cheese lover in any crowd.  

Then scoot over to the aisle where the crackers are and pick out something with seeds – they look good on a tray.

Next visit the fruit section of your favorite market and choose some really beautiful fruit; Ambrosia apples are wonderful. Bartlett pears are great this time of year, and both white and green grapes always go fast at any gathering.

In the bread aisle choose the little bitty loaf, the kind that looks like baby bread, and get both white and wheat if they have it. Then, to go with it, pick out a jar of apricot preserves.

Now, find a nice seasonal towel in the kitchen aisle and a large basket, or a pretty tray. Adding a bouquet of cut flowers will provide the finishing touch to your stellar selection of great gourmet foods.

Assemble your basket by placing a piece of plastic wrap in the bottom, and if, by chance, you have some bubble wrap lying around the house, toss that in as well. You don’t want your assortment of goodies to be flat. You can use crumpled newspaper, as well.

If the basket will hold the flowers, place them to one side, if not, just make sure the pot they are in is wrapped in pretty paper, or put it in another basket and plan to place it near your tray/basket on the serving table.

Next, put the largest items in, probably your box of crackers, propping them up in back at an angle. When the time comes to serve, just open the box and place them on a tray alongside the basket.

Next, using the bubble wrap and making sure it doesn’t show by covering it with the tea towel, add your freshly washed and dried fruits, alternating them and making sure the bubble wrap does its job of not letting everything sink to the bottom of the basket.

Your cheese can be distributed amongst the fruits, ending at the front with the smallest item.

Plan to put the bread and apricot preserves on a tray, placing the preserves in the center and fanning the bread around the jar carefully -remember to add a spoon and a knife and a plate or tray on which to serve them.

Your office party will be great and your co-workers will be pleased that you didn’t opt to bring the plastic forks!


Easiest Recipe in the World… English Pea Salad

Three cans of Le Sueur English peas, drained

1 ½ cups of finely shredded cheese

Mayonnaise, just enough to hold everything together

Salt to taste

Optional; 2 boiled and finely chopped egg whites

Drain peas. Boil two eggs, then run cold water over them and peel while hot. Discard or repurpose yolk. Add finely chopped egg white and mayonnaise to English peas.  Stir carefully so as not to mash the peas or mush up the cheese. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.


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