Hosting for the Holidays? Be Prepared.

I once arrived at a party to find the hostess visibly frazzled, which made it all the more difficult to tell her that I had forgotten to bring the extra folding chairs that she requested.  Suddenly the Queen of Hearts was standing in front of me shouting "Off with their heads!" Yikes!  That was scary. 

On Black Friday we went to our friend Suzanne's house for Friendsgiving dinner.  Upon arrival she proceeded to tell me that she had put the turkey in the oven that morning but hours later realized that she had forgotten to turn on the oven.  Oops! 

This past weekend we hosted an early Christmas dinner.  With two chefs in the house we normally decline offers for our guests to bring something other than their beverage of choice.  But this year we decided to let everyone pitch in.  Well I'm not going to mention any names but the person who was bringing dessert couldn't make it and the one bringing the soup course forgot it at home...2 hours away (Mom!  Seriously?!?). 

Do any of these scenarios sound familiar?  For some, they would have been a total disaster.  But they weren't.  The chairs turned out not to be such a big deal.  A picnic bench was the perfect solution.  Suzanne was cool as a cucumber because she had plenty of snacks and beverages on hand to hold her guests over until the turkey was ready.  Plus she had made the rest of the meal in advance.  So it took no time at all to heat everything up while the turkey was resting and being carved.  As for the soup and dessert at our dinner, I played my favorite game of 'What's in the Fridge?' and whipped up a quick mushroom soup.  I also had plenty of Christmas cookies on hand for dessert.  Crisis averted.

The moral of the story?  Stuff happens.  If you're hosting then be prepared for the unexpected with these three essentials:

  1. Plan all of the details ahead - guests, menus, food quantities
  2. Prepare as much as you can in advance and plan your time wisely.
  3. Stock up on essentials that will help you out in a pinch.  In the fridge: fresh veggies, herbs, garlic and onion, cheese, non-alcoholic beverages.  In the pantry:  chicken or vegetable stock, nuts, party snacks, mixers.  Household:  napkins, tablecloths, tableware, utensils, toilet paper and chairs!  Don't forget the chairs ;)

Do you find hosting stressful?  Contact me for help with your next event.  We'll plan the menu, shop, cook, serve and clean up so that you can relax and enjoy the party!

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