While family and friends wait for the turkey and tamales to be served, the munchies set in. Let Thanksgiving dinner guests snack on healthy cubes of fruit and cheese before dinner. Edible arrangements made of these easy-to-eat foods add color to the table and keep everyone satisfied until it's time for the main course.
Making a fruit bowl
Choose a favorite large fruit to be the bowl for your centerpiece. Consider watermelon for a large dinner or a papaya for a small intimate gathering. Cut the fruit in half and scoop out the tender flesh with a melon baller. If you're using a papaya, remove the black seeds and save them for another recipe. Place the balls of fruit in a large mixing bowl.
Now, add additional fruit to the mixing bowl. Stick with a tropical theme by adding cubes of fresh pineapple, chunks of mango, orange segments, strawberries, and cubes of kiwi. Gently mix the fruits and pour them back into the hallowed fruit rind. Place the large fruit bowl on a pretty holiday platter that is slightly larger than the bowl. You want to leave space around the perimeter of the bowl to stack cubes of cheese.
Adding the cheese
Choose a variety of semi-hard and hard cheeses when making edible arrangements. These are easier to poke with a toothpick and eat as a snack than creamy varieties. Opt for classics like cheddar, colby, pepper jack, mozzarella, and Swiss.
Chop the cheese into 1-inch cubes and arrange them around the fruit bowl. Place colorful plastic toothpicks in several of the cubes. Then, put a bowl of additional toothpicks next to the centerpiece so people can use them to enjoy the fruit too.
Serving edible arrangements
Place the colorful fruit and cheese centerpiece in the middle of the dinner table, on the buffet where it will eventually be served, or in the middle of a coffee table where people will gather before dinner. If there will be a 30-minute or longer wait before dinner is served, place small dessert plates, a bowl of fruit dip, and a plate of crackers next to the centerpiece. This will encourage guests to have a light snack while they socialize.
If you're having guests visit who haven't spent Thanksgiving with your family in the past, let them know that the fruit and cheese centerpiece is an appetizer--not just a decoration--and that they should dig in!