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Thanksgiving with In-Laws - What to take on flight?

So, not technically my in-laws, but rather my boyfriend's parents. I was invited to spend Thanksgiving with them in Seattle this year. I live in New York and would have to sit through a 5-6 hour flight before I arrive at their house. There is a similar thread on Chow dealing with what to bake/cook to take to the in-laws' home for Thanksgiving, but the asker was traveling by car. Any tips on what I can take with me on a flight? The family's kitchen isn't large and I'd much rather stay out of the kitchen while my boyfriend's mom is scrambling around to get things ready.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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  1. Are you arriving a day or so prior to Thanksgiving? If not, perhaps just bring along a special bottle of wine rather than food.

    4 Replies
    1. re: LindaWhit

      Wouldn't that be confiscated at security?

      1. re: Splendid Spatula

        Within the States? I don't think so, but I haven't flown in awhile. But that's why I asked if the OP was arriving a day or so before the holiday, as the purchase could be made in Seattle.

        DUH...of course it would. More than 3 oz. So perhaps the bottle could be packed very well in the luggage?

        1. re: LindaWhit

          Some wine shops will pack a bottle of wine in a small crate so it can be packed in your luggage

        2. re: Splendid Spatula

          yes, but it can be packed in checked luggage

      2. We go to my SIL's house for Thanksgiving every year, and they certainly have a small kitchen and lots of cooks. I make all my pie crusts in NY, wrap in pastic wrap, freeze until solid, and then wrap them in newspaper, which is a good insulator, and put them in my luggage. Believe it or not, they are still frozen when I get to San Diego.

        1 Reply
        1. re: roxlet

          I also bring pie crust dough, and finish the pie at the in-laws.

        2. Since you're coming from New York, how about bringing bagels, etc., for morning-after breakfast?

          4 Replies
            1. re: mcel215

              Ditto, bring something special from NYC for the next day.

            2. re: susan1353

              Black and white cookies, fresh ground ny coffee

              1. re: cheesecake17

                people in Seattle have very good coffee

            3. Unless you've been specifically asked to bring a dish, then I'd go the bagel, or something else uniquely NY, route. A treat for a meal other than the main event.

              When you get there, politely inquire of the primary cook how you can be of assistance-cook a dish, sous chef, cleanup, etc. One thing I've learned here is that there are many ways to offend so you are best off asking a direct question. If the answer is "nothing," head out to purchase a nice bottle of wine or flowers.

              2 Replies
              1. re: tcamp

                +1 on t-camps suggestions. Some nice bagels and perhaps some other NY item... you can sure get the smoked salmon for the bagels in SEA (I live here, so I know:).

                1. re: gingershelley

                  I also love tcamp's advice. I know many fantastic hosts/cooks that really do NOT want help in the kitchen during holiday meals and don't want uninvited side dishes. Make a sincere offer and go from there. Pick you BF's brain for what might be appreciated.

                  Something like fantastic chocolates or local treats that could be enjoyed that weekend or later are always a good bet. Arranged, seasonal flowers are safe unless there are allergy issues.

              2. I agree on the bagel suggestion. Taking something to prepare for the big meal would stress me out as a host.

                1. If I were the out of town home I would very much welcome a large box of chocolates from Kee's or some breads from Balthazar. If you like to bake you could make some Chocolate Almond Lace Cookies. Keep them in a tin to prevent breakage. Here is one (of many) old threads with step by step directions and a link to photos as well:


                  1. Take whatever locavor, regional, immediately edible specialty they would appreciate that they can't get in Seattle. Upstate cheese?

                    Good Luck with the sleeping arrangements!

                    1. If you want to bake something, I'd recommend some sort of quick bread, coffee cake, or muffins -- something that could be served at breakfast and/or left out for snacks. Having hosted Thankgsgiving for many years, which always included overnight houseguests, the real burden was not so much the holiday dinner itself but all the other meals that we needed to cover for the houseguests. Quick breads or muffins freeze easily and are easy for you to pack. Or, if you are not necessarily committed to cooking, then bagels are a great idea for the same reasons.

                      1. Thanks so much, everyone. You've been truly helpful. I've gotten some great ideas and plan to use a few of them. :)

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: knhicks

                          I like the cheese idea. Lots of great artisan cheeses from out east. That, and a bottle of nice wine, which MUST be in the checked luggage. I travel with wine all the time. Just seal it in a plastic bag in case something happens, wrap in bubble wrap and tuck among the most "padded" area within the suitcase. I've never had a problem.

                          Not crazy about any of the bread ideas (bagels), because if and when they get around to being served, they won't be fresh.

                          Could always have a cheesecake shipped in advance...

                          1. re: Scoutmaster

                            Agree on the less-than-freshness of the bagels if brought from NYC.

                            1. re: Scoutmaster

                              If buy the bagels a day in advance and freeze them immediately, they will be plenty fresh when you arrive. Just check with your BF about his parent's freezer capacity (in case they don't want to serve them immediately) to be sure they can freeze them on their end; if their small kitchen has limited freezer space, then they may not appreciate the gift.

                              (If you want to home-bake something, there are pound cake and similar quick breads that actually taste better after a day or 2 -- see, e.g, Dorie Greenspan's French Yoghurt Cake, which I make all the time & bring as gifts.)

                          2. i know you're pretty set, but wanted to toss in an idea...
                            perhaps some homemade (or not) jams/marmalades/(honey/spiced nut blend) butters, etc to serve next day with biscuits or bagels if you run and grab them.
                            if she likes to bake and cook (and would appreciate them), i love bringing a mix of good spices. maybe some nice rarer blends, vanilla beans, etc. i'd suggest a nice oil and vinegar, but if you're not checking your bags, meh.
                            i like the black and white cookies idea above, if you can get and keep them fresh. (or make em)
                            or really, other thought is something not food necessarily related... but suggestions for another board... ;)

                            1. I've heard Klonopin travels nicely :P

                              1. yea, buy something at a market the day before or find a market-grocer open on TG.
                                why bother with carrying something on an airplane where your good intentions can go afloat.
                                they want to see you not your offerings.
                                happy Thanksgiving

                                1. If they like jams, I love the Beth's Farm Kitchen stall in the Union Square Greenmarket. When visiting guests, I've brought along a few different types of jams. They have a great Hot Pepper Jelly, Garlic Rosemary, and Tomato Chutney.

                                  Also, you can bake 3 or 4 different types of cookies. They travel well and you'll have a variety to share.