A Handy Guide for How Much Food to Cook for Thanksgiving Dinner
When it comes to holidays, Thanksgiving ranks right at the top of the list for me. Don't get me wrong, Christmas is great (Yay, gifts!), the 4th of July is good (Yay, fireworks!), and Halloween has its perks (Yay, candy!), but Thanksgiving is the only holiday where the food is the star. The cornucopia, if you will. It's the whole reason we get together, other than to give thanks for the many blessings in our lives, of course. The question is, just how much food do you need? You don't want to come up short where there's not enough to go around, but maybe you also don't want to go overboard where there are so many leftovers they ultimately go to waste. If only someone could provide some sort of handy cheat sheet, a guide if you will, that would help us know just the right amount.
Spoiler alert, someone has.
Heirlooms Traditions Paint in Taylorsville, Kentucky recently shared a guide from Whole Foods Market on Facebook that breaks down exactly how big of a turkey you'll need, to sides, and even wine you'll need to prepare to have enough for everyone to leave the dinner table happy.
The amount of food is based on the number of people you're looking to serve. Obviously, if it's going to be a smaller get-together, you don't need a 20-pound turkey. On the flip side, if you're feeding 20 people, an eight-pound bird won't cut it.
Then there are the sides. How many do you need? What kind should they be? Are you wanting to go carb-heavy, or something more balanced with some vegetables? There are so many options, it can be overwhelming.
The Perfect Amount
For a smaller gathering of somewhere in the neighborhood of five people, the guide says a six to seven-pound turkey should do the trick along with one appetizer, one salad, one "starchy side" (mashed potatoes, stuffing, etc.), one veggie side, one dessert, and three bottles of wine.
For a medium-sized gathering of 10 people, you'll want a 12 to 14-pound turkey, two appetizers, one salad, two starchy sides, two veggie sides, two desserts, and six bottles of wine.
If you're hosting the whole fam damily (20 people or more), a 24 to 28-pound bird will give you enough for everyone, plus two salads, two starchy sides, three veggie sides, three desserts, and 12 (!!!) bottles of wine.
Of course, you can adjust these based on what you know people will eat. I like a good salad, but I can't remember a time where I've seen one served at a Thanksgiving get-together I've attended. If I were hosting Thanksgiving at my house, I wouldn't make one. If someone wants to bring one, more power to them. Instead, I may add another veggie or starchy side (I'm all about those delicious carbs at Thanksgiving).
Whatever combination you choose, this guide should help you make enough to where everyone gets their fill and still have some leftovers they can take with them, but not so much that whatever is leftover goes to waste. At the end of the day, whatever you choose will no doubt be appreciated by whoever is eating it.
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