Thanksgiving dinner is a demonstration of how beautiful food can look. At least that's how it is on Pinterest. Perfectly placed plates surrounded by fine silverware, festive folded napkins, and some ornate centerpiece to complete the over-the-top presentation. In real life my Thanksgiving meals are pre-prepared Styrofoam plates for the kids and parents gathered around the dining room table and an extra folding table for any overflow of big people. Kids usually get to eat at a smaller card table in the kitchen or they just sit on the floor. We carve the turkey before we take it to the table so the Hallmark presentation of a bird surrounded by side dishes never happens in my house.

One of the benefits to pre-prepared plates for the kids is that you can evenly distribute the side dishes so the mashed potatoes and stuffing aren't gone before the last few people get their turn. You can also make sure each kids takes at least a portion of vegetables that they may not have taken on their own. It's a bit diabolical but it works since there are a few dishes that get set out that most people don't actually like. According to an Instacart study, cranberry sauce is the dish that most of us hate followed by the Idaho favorite, green bean casserole. Which would prove my theory that people are only making the casserole because it has some sort of sentimental place on the table and not on a plate.

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