Planning the perfect holiday dinner with NOLA food icon Poppy Tooker

Food

NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — Hosting a holiday dinner for the family can be a tall order, but there are a few tricks that could help you along.

We all have fond memories of family holiday dinners. There’s tasty food, lots of conversation, and family time together. But, hosting these gatherings can be a lot of work and stress, so we talked to professional, author, host, and culinary activist Poppy Tooker about how to make it all work.

“The big mistakes that people make is to cause too much commotion, get too elaborate, get too involved. Remember, this is for your family,” explained Tooker, host of Louisana Eats.

Poppy also says, unless this is a coordinated pot luck dinner, don’t arrive empty-handed, but don’t bring a dish either.

“Bring a lovely bottle of wine, a beautiful box of candy, flowers are always welcome, but not so much a dish, At least not to my house — I’m doing the cooking,” Tooker laughed.

Back to the host and setting the table, a large decorative arrangement may look good in pictures, but Poppy says they’re not practical at dinnertime.

The number-one secret to the table setting is to not have anything big in the middle of the table because we’re all sitting here and we need to see each other,” said Tooker.

Not everyone went to finishing school or took etiquette classes, but we can all follow along. While these affairs require a lot to pull off, Poppy offers one final tip…

“Enjoy everybody you’ve gathered together and treasure this special time,” Tooker explained. “We all learned last year they don’t automatically come every year.”

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