Can we agree that the best thing about holiday parties is the food?
Whoever thought of the idea of the party itself is a sadist. Yes, let’s make our family and friends and other loved ones mingle with our coworkers in too-small and overheated rooms and exchange awkward small talk (and pretend to forget all the horrible stories they’ve heard about various coworkers) while balancing plates of canapes and glasses of weak drinks that someone is bound to spill. For extra shits and giggles, make everyone wear either dry-clean-only velvet or a really ugly sweater. And let’s make them do it all several times in a single night! Because there are only three weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and everyone has to get their party in.
The other thing about the holidays besides the forced jollity, though, is that this is the season of giving, so if you show up empty-handed, you look like a selfish jerk. So sometimes people bring good snacks. The classic is probably cookies, which are relatively easy to make, travel well, and are already divided into portions that can be held gracefully in a napkin. Brownies are good, too. I’m on the fence about mixed nuts, but they’re probably fun if you’re drinking a lot. A great party will have a Crock-Pot full of meatballs and a really great party will have pigs in a blanket.
I’ve brought store-bought doughnuts to parties, and also homemade cookies and brownies. If it’s requested by someone I like, I will make a pie. Holiday parties are a good time to try out recipes that make me wonder, “What does this taste like?” (Such was the case with the buttered rum cream pie from the Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book that I brought to a housewarming last weekend.) If it’s terrible, it’ll just sit on the table ignored. Which is totally fine. (I couldn’t gauge the reaction to the buttered rum cream pie. It was a little runny. People told me it was good, but the other thing about parties is, people always tell you the food you brought is good.)
Anyway... what do you bring to parties?