Thursday, August 09, 2007

Party Planning 101 ~ Food

We' re getting closer to the big bash! The question on all your guests' mind - What are we going to eat? Food is an integral part of a social affair. It gives people something to do besides talk, gives them something to talk about, and shows them that you, the hostess, are happy they are there.

(Tiki Beach Luau, 2005 - Making sure it's all there)

I usually try to plan out my menu 2-3 weeks before an event. Again, you want to write down all of the components that you will need to complete each dish. The food should be bought 1-2 days before the party. Think about anything you can do the night before to make your preparations the day of the party easier. You can assume slightly smaller portions per person based on how much food you are serving, but it is better to have too much food than not enough.

It is important to keep your expectations realistic. If you are used to cooking for large amounts of people, it may be possible to make all of the components of your meal by yourself. If you're kind of iffy about your cooking skills, or don't want to risk neglecting your guests as you slave away in the kitchen finishing up the meal, it may be a good idea to "cater" your event. Now when I say cater, I mean order the food from a favorite to go restaurant. These are the establishments like Rubios, Togo's, Pick Up Sticks - Places where you normally get a meal for around $6 per person. One step up from fast food. For our previous luau, we ordered food from a Hawaiian barbecue place. It ended up costing $100 for 50 people. I couldn't have done better than that buying food on my own, and everybody loved it.

Don't be ashamed to serve store bought food, either. My only words of advice on that is if you end up doing a Costco run the day of the event, which is totally fine, at least take everything out of the packages and arrange the food nicely on serving dishes. You want to look like you're on the ball with your party preparations.

You'll also need some snacks. Party-goers looooove snacks. You may want to specify in your invitation if your party will include a meal. I've been disappointed in the past making a very nice, themed meal, and all of my guests showed up full. Conversely, if guests are expecting a meal, and all you have are snacks, things could get ugly.

Potlucks are another option. Another little piece of advice, take it or leave it. It's good to have a potluck if it works with your theme (e.g. The Melting Pot - Celebrating Our Various Heritages). It may not sit well with your guests, however, if it appears you chose a potluck just to save some moola. This excludes gatherings where potlucks are part of the whole reason you are getting together. I think you know the other type of party I am referring to...we've all been to one.

~ Food/ person
~ Allrecipes
~ Food & Wine
~ Martha Stewart
Specialty Foods
~ Galco's Soda Pop Stop
~ Cajun Stuff (turducken, anyone?)
~ The Salt Lick (BBQ sent PDQ!)
~ Divine Delights (petits fours)
~ Eleni's (cookies)
~ Royer's Round Top Cafe (pies)
~ Hammond's
~ Nostalgic Candy
~ MarieBelle Fine Chocolate
~ Woodhouse Chocolate



looks like fun, I want to come.

Dee Light said...

So mant good ideas for a party!!! Not just on todays post, but the previous days as well!!!

It is so true that sometimes it costs the same or less to purchase the food!!!

Mary Ann said...

Do you do this for a living? If not, why not?

Gina said...

Oh it looks like a wonderful time and thank you for sharing you helpful hints with us!

kate1976 said...

WOW I bet you throw a mean partay!!! Thanks for the great ideas. kza

African Kelli said...

You are a serious champ at this!