- Bring nothing and simply enjoy the hospitality of your host. Being an overly polite Southerner, I don’t suggest making this suggestion to the host! Try to be helpful. There are definitely ways you can contribute towards the meal!
- Sodas and other non-grape drinks. This is the second easiest/cheapest route.
- Fresh fruit or vegetables. While it may feel somewhat rude, don’t prepare them before arriving at your host’s unless your host has explicitly told you they trust the kashrus of your kitchen. (Remember not to "cook" them in any way.) If that isn't explicitly volunteered by your host, allow them to handle any cutting and washing. Be kind and don’t bring items that require more onerous preparation (leafy greens). Good choices are grapes, berries, melons, maybe pineapples, mangos, oranges, bananas, carrots, celery, and tomatoes. Avoid broccoli and cauliflower! For halachic reasons, avoid "sharp" veggies like onions.
- Store-bought, packaged cakes and cookies.
- Store-bought, packaged challah.
- Wine. By most opinions today (your mileage may vary), you can even bring non-mevushal wine so long as you stop touching it once someone (not you) opens it.
There are other items that could be fine, but these are needed at almost any Shabbat meal. They're also easy to procure even without many kosher resources (especially sodas and fruits/veggies), as well as being within just about anyone's budget.
The best part? None of these things have to saying, "Look at the non-Jew!" You will blend in with everyone else bringing items. Sometimes, you feel the need to just blend in, and these ideas can help.
NOTE: When buying any packaged food, make sure that the host will accept the hechsher on the item and that the hechsher and packaging remain intact. I once brought packaged pastries, and the host had to decline to use them because she couldn’t find the hechsher. Sure enough, it was just hard to find! In the end, we enjoyed delicious rugelach. Be gracious and don’t take these things personally. In fact, your host will probably feel just as embarrassed as you do. If a problem pops up, deal with it calmly, and if you can’t share the item, that’s life. You’ll do better next time.
NEXT: How to get it there.