Entertaining family and friends is a joy, but getting the party started can be a little stressful. Have you ever said the following to yourself?
* It's too exhausting cooking for a crowd!
* I'm just too busy to put a party together!
* I have to work the entire party and never get to enjoy myself!
If you have ever had these thoughts, there is a one word solution to your party dilemma -- "buffet." A buffet with stylish flatware can be simple and chic, offering you an easy way to make your party the talk of the town.
The best way to enjoy your own party is by not "over thinking" it. Plan a simple, attractive, and stress-free buffet that takes care of itself so you can be a part of your event instead of being stuck "behind the scenes." The following tips will keep your buffet on track to ensure a successful party that is also fun for you.
Choose Your Flatware And Serving Pieces
The day before your party, collect your serving dishes, platters, utensils, and flatware. Don't be afraid to mix and match your serving pieces and utensils for a funky look. Plan where you will place each serving piece and the best location for everything. Don't forget about serving utensils like serving spoons, serving forks, scoops, condiment spoons, tongs, cake servers, and more. This ensures your guests can easily serve themselves.
Choose Menu Items That Can Be Made Ahead
If you choose items for your menu that you can make ahead of time and then quickly assemble at the last minute, those last few minutes before your guests arrive will be so much easier. Offer plenty of different dishes in a variety of colors, flavors, and textures. The more dishes you serve, no matter how simple, the more your guests will rave about the menu because you are more likely to have something everyone will enjoy. Also, don't be afraid to buy certain 'heat and serve' items from the frozen food aisle. The mozzarella cheese sticks you find there will be just as good as the ones you slave over. If you serve certain dishes requiring special flatware, like shrimp that requires shrimp forks, make sure they are easily accessible with the other items on the buffet.
Cold Buffets Are Great
Don't think you still have to slave over a hot stove to put together a successful buffet. Cold buffets are great and involve a lot less prep work. Popular cold buffet items include coleslaw, potato salad, shrimp, cold cuts, cheese, dips, pickles, wraps, salsa, and even sushi. Fill a large bowl or platter with plenty of buns and gourmet breads and make sure you have lots of flatware pieces for spreading condiments. Even with a cold buffet, if there are plenty of choices, your guests will love it.
Make Sure There's Plenty Of Table Space
Seating space is great, but when you offer plenty of table space for guests to eat, that's even better. Many people don't like to eat without a table to put their plate down on and it's difficult to hold flatware, a plate, and a drink at the same time. You will make your guests more comfortable and you'll have a better time with plenty of table space. Don't worry about fancy tables. Comfort is more important here. Pulling a table away from a wall or sliding two small tables together and covering them with a tablecloth works perfectly.
Designate a "traffic flow" for your buffet by placing dinner plates at one end of your serving table and your flatware and drinking glasses at the other end so your guests don't have a handful while trying to serve themselves. Consider rolling your flatware in napkins for a fancy look and to make carrying multiple flatware pieces simpler. Usually a knife and fork will suffice, but there are times you should include spoons and specialty flatware, depending on your menu for the buffet.
Make Your Buffet Visually Attractive
Take foods, like mayonnaise, out of their jars and place them in attractive bowls. Arrange your serving platters and bowls in a visually pleasing manner, mixing colors, heights, sizes, and textures to make your table visually attractive while keeping certain items, such as bread and sandwich meats, together. Fill any empty spots on your buffet table with small bowls containing nuts, cheese cubes, olives, and other small foods. Make sure you have tools for spreading available with mustards, mayonnaise, and spreadable cheeses. Add color and decoration to cakes and less visually appealing dishes with cut-up fruits and vegetables.
Let Guests Bring Their Special Dishes
If your guests ask if they can bring anything to your party, tell them "Yes, a small dessert would be great!" Small desserts work well because you can usually find the perfect place to feature them on your buffet table. If you don't have room on your buffet table, place desserts on their own special table as most of your guests will eat your dinner items first before going back for dessert. Make sure you have small dessert plates and additional flatware for your dessert table.
You can have a blast at your own party if you consider "throwing a buffet." With these few simple tips, some serving pieces, and flatware, your buffet will be a hit that people talk about for years to come.
Christine O'Kelly is an author for Gourmet Settings, a company offering designer flatware that fits any lifestyle. Their exclusive patterns and elegant flatware designs ensure they have something for every taste.