Now that you’re out of college (and your parent’s basement), your extended family may begin to think of you as a functional adult and expect you to contribute to the preparation of elaborate meals. Prove them wrong with these hastily thrown-together side dishes certain to disappoint:
JELL-O Snack Packs
Take a classic Thanksgiving side dish and kick it down a notch. Their almost-beautiful table arrangement will be instantly ruined with the addition of a JELL-O snack pack at every place setting. With your special combination of incompetence and lack of artistic vision, think they’ll turn to you to compile and transform old family photos into a touching PowerPoint for next year’s reunion? Oh, JELL-No!
Ritz Crackers and Squeeze Cheese
You’ll be judged for bringing a side dish that is clearly an appetizer. After your Aunt Charlene rolls her eyes and offers a friendly chuckle, they’ll focus on the real offense: squeeze cheese. The matriarchs in your family are no strangers to processed foods—after all, they were moms in the ‘80s and ‘90s. But they’ll resent you for speeding up everyone’s impending Type 2 diabetes. Aunt Charlene saw on Dr. Oz that it’s basically liquid plastic. Helping to host future church basement receptions? Avoided!
It’s a classic case of a communication mix-up (wink!) when you show up with a can of baked beans in lieu of the traditional green beans. Just like that, you’ve got yourself a funny story to tell for years to come and also a reputation as a loveable dum-dum. Forget being asked to pick up the cake for Grandma’s 80th—you can’t even bring the appropriate goddamn legume!
Caesar Salad Kit in a Bag
Caesar salad is actually pretty classy. When attending a friend’s dinner party, this readily available bag o’ magic can be a failsafe. But if you think a bag salad will cut it at the Garrison Family Thanksgiving, you are definitely still high from last Thursday. So bring it! Show off the trick where you shake it in the bag to mix it all up. Bowls are at a premium this time of year. Do not bring one. This whole salad song and dance will be cute and sad to them, and your parents will be so glad you have another year on their insurance.
A CrockPot of Taco Meat
This one is wrong for a lot of reasons: first, it isn’t a side dish, secondly, it is totally off-brand, and thirdly, for you it’s both a time and financial investment. Your payoff, however, comes when nobody eats it and you feast off the leftovers for the next two weeks until you get paid again. Everyone will notice the way your eyes light up when you casually mention you “suppose you’ll just take all the leftovers home” and piece it together. The next time you’ll be asked to contribute money toward a group gift for your Uncle Edwin’s retirement? Try never!
You’re already a disappointment—why not benefit from it?