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Virtual Turkey Day: How to Share a Meal Together from Afar

November 23, 2020

Ways to share a virtual meal with your loved ones on Thanksgiving Day.


What are you looking forward to most this Thanksgiving? Cooking a festive meal? Celebrating gratitude? Spending time with friends and family? 


That's right — just because there's a pandemic doesn't mean you can't spend Turkey Day with your loved ones. Here are three ways to host a virtual Thanksgiving without phoning it in. 


Share Your Favorite Recipes


One of the best parts of Thanksgiving is the ability to share food with your loved ones, so why should this year be any different? Recipe sharing is a great way to bond over a family meal, despite physical distance. 


Try coming up with four or five Thanksgiving recipes, and send them out to your crew before the holiday. Go traditional with green bean casseroleglazed sweet potatoes and maple roasted turkey, or try something a little off-the-beaten track like this butternut squash and leek bread pudding. Each person on the guest list cooks up the same recipes, then on Thanksgiving Day, the group joins together for a video chat. It's fun to compare and contrast how everyone's dishes came out!


Continue the sharing by asking your guests Thanksgiving-themed questions: What's your all-time favorite Thanksgiving food? What are you grateful for this year? If you could invite any celebrity to your Thanksgiving, who would it be?


Mail It In


Did you know you can mail food? It has to be well-packaged, of course, but this means you can host a Thanksgiving potluck from anywhere in the country. Plan ahead with your friends or family and assign each person a different Thanksgiving dish. 


Keep in mind that participants will be making multiple batches, so it's best to keep recipes relatively simple. Baked goods travel well, like pumpkin bread or cranberry cornbread muffins, and anything perishable like meats or cheeses needs to be properly refrigerated. Have your guests mail their food by a certain date, so that on Thanksgiving Day, everyone can hop on FaceTime or Zoom together and enjoy a meal made by loved ones. 


Just like an in-person potluck, your virtual dinner can be as low-key or as elaborate as you like. Decide in advance if you'll be sending out formal invitations. Will you be dressing up for the occasion or wearing flannel sweatpants? Either is a great choice — just make sure all your guests are on the same page. Finally, don't be afraid to deck out your space with festive fall décor, and encourage your friends and family to do the same!


Stage a Food Competition 


Do you love food competition shows? This Thanksgiving, you can host your own! Invite your guests to create their own unique holiday meal. This is a great time to get creative with your culinary skills. For a delicious twist on a classic, try a sweet potato and kale gratin. Tired of turkey? Choose this deliciously festive Coca-Cola ham. You can even make your own Thanksgiving cocktail, like this cinnamon maple whiskey sour


On Thanksgiving Day, create a group video chat for your guests, then have each participant show off their meal. Ask everyone to rate the dishes based on your predetermined parameters, like plating, creativity and overall appeal. 


As your friends and family dig in, you can tally the votes and give out awards and honors for each course. But the biggest reward of all — you get to spend time with your loved ones on Thanksgiving Day!


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