There’s just something about a board, right? Maybe it’s the enticing way the food is arranged—it doesn’t matter if it’s French fries or ice cream—or the seemingly endless options for themes and ways to use them. Either way, a board always feels like a good choice.
That’s especially true at Thanksgiving, when you’re either trying to figure out what to bring that will please everyone—or you’ve got so much cooking and prepping on your proverbial plate that you want something easy to turn to as an appetizer or breakfast option.
“In my opinion, serving food on shareable boards is one of the greatest ideas in the history of eating and entertaining. It’s a gesture of hospitality and appreciation for food that transcends the basic plated meal,” she explains. “Boards bring people together, through sharing and eating and connecting, more than a traditional sit-down dinner does. And boards are just as fun to create and look at as they are to eat.”
Brown, whose latest cookbook, Brilliant Bites, just came out in September, shares a few go-to tips for making great boards with us—plus three perfect-for-Thanksgiving options.
“For Thanksgiving, I suggest building it with seasonal foods that everyone will enjoy,” she advises. “Seasonal fruits like apples, pears and oranges. Orange-colored cheeses and crackers. Nuts and dried fruits. Sweet treats in seasonal shapes like pumpkins, leaves, and acorns.”
Play with shapes.
If you’re looking for a fun starting point for your Turkey Day board, look no further than the main dish itself: “I suggest arranging the board in the shape of a turkey, pumpkin, or even a cornucopia to make it extra festive and memorable!,” offers Brown.
More is more.
“Load it up! A bountiful board is beautiful and inviting, so feel free to pile it up and fill in all the nooks and crannies with goodies that are sure to be enjoyed,” she recommends—and don’t shy away from using a range of flavors and textures.
And if you have leftovers after making your board? Though Brown aims to have a good amount for the number of guests and the occasion, she notes, “If we do have leftovers, I will store them accordingly and then either build another beautiful board with them, snack on them over the next few days, or make a salad or sandwich out of them.”
You don’t have to be a master chef.
As Brown points out, “No matter what your kitchen skill level is, you can do this! The only rule is that there are NO RULES! From building it to serving it, just get creative, have fun, and most importantly, enjoy!”
And since holidays are stressful enough, the last thing you want to do is have something else to worry about. “Allow yourself to make it easy and fun so that you can relax and be present with your friends and family as everyone grazes on your amazing creation. Anything goes, and just the effort will excite everyone lucky enough to enjoy it with you,” says Brown.
Three great ideas to try:
Kids table centerpiece, perhaps? With the turkey at the center, this Turkey Snack Board is as kid-friendly as it is adorable.
We all know the leftovers are the best part—and this fun board puts them to good use.
If you’re hosting overnight guests over the holiday weekend, this board makes serving breakfast so much simpler.