You can serve the simplest of fare this Thanksgiving — just do it with panache.

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When it comes to entertaining, I live by the motto “presentation over preparation.”

You can serve even the simplest of fare to friends this Thanksgiving, but if you do so with panache, it will knock their socks off. Styling sensational food spreads is a lot easier than you think when you have these elements.

The right food

For me, the right food for entertaining is anything I don’t have to cook. So when I have guests over, I always bring in yummy food prepared by someone else. I have my go-to restaurants and grocery stores where I can grab a feast in a flash. This also leaves more time for presentation.

If cooking brings you joy, that’s fabulous. Giving guests the gift of a home-cooked meal is divine. To avoid last-minute stress, stick with recipes you feel comfortable making and that allow you to spend time with your guests, not in the kitchen.

The right tools

If you want to design a gorgeous food display in minutes, invest in serving pieces that instantly lend drama to the table.

Cloches are magical because you can cover just about anything with one and it’s instantly changed from ordinary to regal. A similar effect comes from placing items on pedestals — and it doesn’t just have to be desserts set up on high.

Present appetizers on tiered servers. You can find these classic pieces in just about every style and price range.

Rosanna Large Pedestal, $78 at rosannainc.com
Rosanna Large Pedestal, $78 at rosannainc.com

Risers help add a variety of heights in your food display, lifting up select serving pieces so your spread is rich with visual interest. You can use anything sturdy and flat hidden under a tablecloth or runner.

I’m crazy about long wooden cutting boards. Like a tray, they artfully anchor all the individual serving pieces so they feel like one unit. And they give you workspace for slicing right at the table.

As you build your collection of serving pieces, get some formal pieces, like crystal and silver, and some less formal pieces, like white and cream pottery or bowls with a fun pattern.

The right attitude

A big lesson I’ve learned from a lifetime of entertaining is to just relax and enjoy myself. If you are having fun, and people feel welcome in your home, you can survive any culinary mishap.