Now that the Thanksgiving holiday is upon us, and we are entering the holiday season’s big party months, it’s a good time to share some helpful organizing tips for home-entertaining. Whether it’s a cocktail party or a sit- down plated dinner, planning is essential. With readiness in mind, you should plan the menu ahead of time, make a detailed grocery list, and be sure to check that the liquor cabinet is current, and stocked with the basic alcoholic favorites (hey, it’s party time). It would be more organized and less stressful if you could make the time to set the dining table or prepare the buffet table with the appropriate tablecloth and utensils, at least the day or night before. This way, if you don’t have what you need, you have time to run a quick errand. Gather the proper serving utensils for each serving dish. Not such a big deal, really. But what I find is that it seems to be the last 15 minutes before the guests arrive that we are in a small frenzy. We are scurrying through the cabinets to find the perfect serving tray for the varied assortment of appetizers, preparing the ice bucket (but not too early), and we must micromanage the hot appetizers in the oven so they stay hot (but not too dried out). And what happens next? The doorbell is ringing, the guests seem to be stampeding in all at the same time, and you are secretly questioning yourself whether you are ready. And if that is not hectic enough, the guests are kind enough to bring you more delectable treats and so you are back in the cabinets searching for another platter, cake plate, or nut bowl. Everyone is asking to help and before long, you have more people in the kitchen than in your entertainment room.
One of the best ways to stay ahead of the chaos, is once the menu is planned, organize the platters for the main entrees and side dishes, and place labeled post-it notes on the appropriate serving platter, with the proper serving piece. In this way, any eager guest that wants to lend a hand, can easily follow your plan . When everything comes out of the kitchen, you can plate all the food in an organized way. The only thing to worry about is that the food tastes good.