The Great Plate Debate

By Kimberly Edwards

That is the question. Whether ‘tis with your family, or your significant other’s, the question still stands: Should I make his/her plate?

This entire discussion excludes those of you who have fancy, plated dinners on Thanksgiving or over the holidays. You’ll never have to worry about this. The most the families will ever talk about is if you have any dietary restrictions. This is true: my mom asked if my boyfriend ate pork when we first started dating (note that Filipinos always have pork at family functions, no matter what).

Moving forward.

If you’re like the rest of us, a family-style dinner is how the holidays are done. Whether you get up and make a plate, or sit at a table and pass the various dishes to each other, you earn a responsibility for yourself to know that you are well-fed, but also courteous enough to not take all four corners of the mac and cheese before anyone else gets one.

My family is huge, and when we get together a line forms around the food set-up and you get your own plate. The few who get plates served to them are the pre-pubescent children and the old people. Those who are married can get their spouses a plate if they so choose, but it is not required.

So here we are. It’s a debate that’s probably as old as the Thanksgiving “holiday” (the term is up for debate #StayWoke). What do you do when you’re not married, but bring a significant other to the holiday meals?

Here are a few hacks to successfully win the Great Plate Debate:

1. You talk about it with your significant other beforehand. “Have you seen this in your family before?” “What will your aunties/uncle say about/to me?” “Is it cool if we make our own plates?”
Crisis averted. You communicate beforehand, and you both arrive to Thanksgiving happy and hungry.

2. You make two plates, ‘for yourself’. This one’s a little risky, but here’s how you do it: You tell your girl / ya mans to conveniently use the bathroom/wash hands right before you reach the plates and the food. You reach for the good-quality paper plate: the sturdy one that can hold a lot of food (if you use real plates, you’re fancy and go see my disclaimer at the top)…but you grab two. If he/she comes back quickly, they grab one of these plates. If not, then you’ve gotta be stealthy. Start with the basics: turkey, mac and cheese, stuffing. When he/she returns, you say “I started your plate for you” so as not to hold up the line and stay with your s.o. because you arrived together. This eliminates the idea of making the plate, because you’ve only put in the basic components.

3. Just don’t make a plate for him/her. This one is the easiest way to approach the situation. Don’t eat that day, and allow yourself to get so hungry that you can’t manage to think about what anyone else is eating. You want that piece of turkey and those sweet potatoes. You’ve got tunnel vision because you’re just so hungry, and the pleasantries are just delaying your time with your meal. The result: no one questions you because they know you’re so hungry that you’re not going to make a plate for anyone else but yourself.

So there you have it. Before you meme pictures of the dude mad at the debate a few weeks back or some of our shade ancestors like Cicely Tyson, think about these tips and see if they’ll work for you! Stay tuned as The Sellers Group writes more Thanksgiving-related posts this month!


Photo Credit: Lee Chapman