Stock up at the discount store and let them twinkle the night away.
in the washing machine. When the ice melts, just let the water drain.
Transfer the icy-cold drinks to the serving area before guests arrive.
from the local tech school
or junior college’s culinary arts program. They need the experience
and you need the help.
Live in a town that doesn’t
have a swanky culinary store? Take your knives to the local taxidermist—he’ll
know what to do.
The few minutes you spend categorizing your list will save you hours
in the store. And be sure to take a calculator with you to quickly calculate the appropriate package sizes for your quantity recipes.
Create a build-your-own-tart
bar. Make shortbread or pie crust cups the week before (or purchase
from a local bakery) and freeze until the day of the party. Whip
together a bar of cream cheese and a small jar of marshmallow cream
for a fluffy sweetness. Arrange bowls with the tart cups, the cream
cheese mixture, and fresh fruits like raspberries, blueberries, blackberries,
and sliced strawberries. Let the guests work their magic!
They’ll stay out of the way of the cooking area and hang right
at eye level. As soon as you’ve completed each recipe, tear
it down and throw it away. By the time the first guest arrives, they
should all be long gone.
artisanal boules of bread with long sprigs of rosemary, bowls of
citrus fruits (that you can eat the next week) for a bright, summery
look, or natural gourds, fall squashes, and pumpkins for an autumn
and buy more than you’d
think. Estimate 11/2 to 2 pounds per person. For faster chilling,
combine the ice with some water to create an ice bath. Allow a minimum
of 30 minutes for chilling in an ice bath, and longer in the refrigerator.
As they say, “If mama ain’t
happy, ain’t nobody happy.” Being invited to a party
is a treat, a night away from the stove, something to look forward
to and enjoy. So, relax—your guests are happy to be there
and you’ll be your own harshest critic.