Once the party process is started, I created the guest list and know the number of those invited, it’s time to decide what kind of food will served. Will it be a sit down dinner, buffet, appetizers, salads, or desserts. In this case, I’ve decide that with the number of guests, and the time of day, the party fare should be appetizers, drinks and desserts!
Having made the choice, should we hire a couple of people to walk around with trays, or should I just have a table or tables to house the platters of appetizers? Will I need electricity to keep food hot? Or do I need ice to keep from spoiling? All of which needs to be consider when you start the menu process.
How much will be pre-made and purchased? How many kinds of appetizers do I want? How many recipes can be made in advance, a week, a day or two, or within an hour of the party? No one wants to be in the kitchen cooking when guests arrive and trust me; no guest wants to see you slaving away for them. They will feel guilty and you don’t want your guests to feel bad. The idea of inviting friends and family over is to enjoy their company, don’t be stuck in the kitchen! Dirty dishes is another no-no for party time!
I know this all sounds complicated and perhaps a little overwhelming. Don’t let it scare you, instead let it be food for thought ( pun intended). I am going to help you with the thought process.
Okay with that being said, how do you go about setting a menu? First, I think about my favorite appetizers and those that I am very comfortable making. Have I served them at my last couple of parties? How did they go over with my guests? Several of my favorites are meatballs, stuffed mushrooms and bacon wrapped water chestnuts. The meatballs I buy frozen at Costco, plop them in a crockpot with some kind of sauce. Simple enough and always a hit!
With the party taking place in the garden, I want to keep the appetizer simple enough, interesting enough and without the need for electricity. One of my down falls is selecting too many recipes. Although I am very comfortable in the kitchen and with my cooking abilities, I am learning that guests don’t needs too many choices.
Like I said, I am very capable, comfortable and confidant in the kitchen, I grab my notepad, having chosen recipes I’m good at I wrtie them down and looking for something new, I grab my newest cookbooks, looking at the pictures, going over the ingredients, I look ro see if I can make it in advance. If it needs to be hot of the oven, it doesn’t make the list for this party. Items must be easy to do and tasty if served cold. We’re outside during the heat of summer.
As I make selections, I jot down the recipe name, cookbook name and page number. Does everything I write down become something served at the party? No, it’s my jumping off point. I repeat this process with the desserts and I also consider what drink/s I plan to serve. Then a couple of days later I review my menu and make the final selections and cuts! Friends, I say buy what you can, make what your comfortable making and enjoy the party! Next up; Store bought taste better on serving pieces!