The humble relish tray: what's in yours?

At Thanksgiving, it’s usually my responsibility (among other things) to prepare the relish tray, and it occurred to me this year that I’ve never actually heard of anyone doing this or seen it in media. In my house, the relish tray generally means pickles and olives laid out for noshing ahead of the Thanksgiving meal. We’ve done this ever since I was little.

A brief Google search indicated all kinds of madness going into a relish tray – fresh vegetables? Dips? Hummus, for goodness’ sake?! It’s like I’m in some strange, new world, albeit a world largely related to the contents of relish trays. Blew my mind, let me tell you.

So, I decided to ask Dopers - do you ‘relish tray’?

Those little pickles that suck (not dill spears). Olives (green and black). Carrots. Celery.

Gherkins? We always do the sweet gherkins. I never eat them at any other time, but those weird little sweet pickles scream Thanksgiving to me.

Gherkins, green olives, black olives. C’est tout.

I usually do green and black olives, gherkins, spicy bread and butter pickles, and peperoncini. Maybe some pickled cauliflower of turnips depending on whats in the house. We are super big pickle eaters year round here. We always have a bowl of crack nuts alongside for the holidays.

My mother is a Yankee and therefore has a “relish tray”, although she’s never called it that before this year so maybe she’s just getting in touch with her roots. We call it “pickles and olives” and we have gherkins (I call 'em fetus pickles because my mom hates that) and black olives and celery with cream cheese in it. Usually I eat all the pickles and olives while cooking and Mom gets mad and has to replace them, and I eat half of those.

Sorry, can’t type; I have black olives on all my fingers.

Crudités! Crudités! Crudités!

One item always served at Thanksgiving (actually any special holiday meal) in our family and perhaps on the “pickle tray” with other items in the poll are bacon-wrapped water chestnuts. There are never enough of them!

Dill pickles, sweet pickles or bread and butter pickles, green olives, and green onions. Sometimes black olives too but rarely. And we don’t eat it ahead of the meal, it’s served with the meal. Ahead of the meal we usually have cheeseball and crackers, dip and salsa, some other kind of dip with chips - stuff like that.

Our family’s always had celery, carrots, cauliflower, green olives, gherkins, and radishes. Usually with ranch dip.

It was just a way to disingenuously pretend we weren’t all working on the cheese ball, though.

Ours is usually just fresh veggies: baby carrots, celery, cherry tomatoes, and broccoli with ranch or dill dip.

We serve pickles and olives but they’re on the dinner table, not part of the nibblies beforehand.

Always on the dinner table. Pickles, olives, peach pickles, spiced apple rings, cucumbers, onions and radishes. I have no idea why I must do this except that I fear being haunted by all those who have gone before if I omit it. :eek:

Plus, I really, really, really like the peach pickles and spiced apple rings.

Oh! Spiced apple rings! Good lord, I haven’t seen those since the 80’s - you used to get them at salad bars and sometimes as a side with your meal. We should get some and put them on the relish tray! (Do they, er, sell them in the grocery store?)


Pickles of various types, olives, pickled beets, crudités, cashew nuts and cherry tomatos.

Occasionally the crudités will include celery with peanut butter.

Crudites, black olives, dill pickles, bread and butter pickles and deviled eggs (what! your deviled egg plate doesn’t have sections for the rest of the relish tray? :stuck_out_tongue: ). Like alice_in_wonderland, sometimes our celery has peanut butter stuffed in it. Usually, there are a few other things on the relish tray, but what I listed are things that my grandmother would come back and haunt me for if I left them off.

If it’s just my husband and me, it’s celery (sometimes with a bit of cream cheese in it), carrots, deviled eggs, sweet gherkins, and olives. He doesn’t like olives, so it will be green or black olives, not both.

If I’m making a tray for at least half a dozen people, then it’s all of the above, with both kinds of olives, plus radish roses, bell pepper strips (at least two colors), green onions (roots cut off, and the green end sliced the long way for decoration), cauliflower and broccoli florets, peppercini, and artichoke hearts. At least two kinds of dip, probably ranch and onion. Someone else can bring the cheese balls.

At our house the relish goes on the able with the meal. Garlic stuffed olives, black olives, dill pickles, maybe sweet pickles too.

Sweet pickles and pickled beets.