Tuesday's Tip: Party Planning - FamilyEducation

Tuesday's Tip: Party Planning

May 10,2011
Sweet Pea Chef
Jessica Efird

Jessica, aka the Sweet Pea Chef, is a former U.S. Senate staffer/weekend gourmet turned full-time mom/family gourmet. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband and two sons.


Summer is still more than a month away, but if you visit party or gift stores, the signs of the upcoming summer party season are evident:  “Congrats Grad!” banners, plates and napkins are popping up along with patriotic decorations for Memorial Day cookouts and 4th of July block parties.

Yes, summer is the season of graduation parties, wedding and baby showers, cook-outs, block parties and dozens of other great reasons to gather together, eat, drink and share.  And with each gathering comes the lingering question:  “will we have enough food?”  “how much will our guests drink?”

There are great websites that have suggestions such as “5 bites of an appetizer, per person, per hour for a cocktail party” or “4 ounces of a pasta dish if used as an appetizer”  or “5 ounces per side dish for a meal,” all of which can help in planning.

Abstract numbers and figures can truly help in party planning, but I have found another tip that I want to share with you:  from planning, to preparing the food, to making sure everything is ready when the guests arrive, I have found that writing it down helps in so many ways.

First, you can learn from your past parties to help you plan future events.  What got eaten?  What was too labor intensive?  Did you have enough of one certain dish?  All can be easily recorded in what I call the post-party debrief:

 



Second, on the list you can plot out your timing for each dish, how long it must cook or if it needs special serving pieces:



Third, and most importantly, this type of planning simply helps *you* enjoy the event too!

I keep all of our past party notes in a binder with my hard copy recipes.  When it is time to plan a new party, I whip our the notes and plan away, feeling more confident in our party’s success!

Life is a celebration,
SPC

PS--Don't forget to enter the Le Creuset give away!