Though the holiday rush is over, there are always meals to prepare and always celebrations to plan. Excellent planning can mean the difference between preparing a meal you can enjoy or one you are too tired to enjoy. Follow these tips for your next event. |
We all have large meals to plan at one time or other, and time is always at a premium. Whether it is a birthday party for children or a spouse, Valentines Day or any other, we all are called upon to deliver something tasty and interesting. Making these events less stressful to plan and execute is as important as the event itself. No one wants to be so tired that they cannot enjoy, though it happens to the best of us at times.
Plan, Plan, Plan
There cannot be too much planning. Here are some things to keep in mind while planning the food. What kind of party or event is being planned? Will it be large or small? What are the ages? Is it a buffet meal or a sit down meal? Are you serving individual plates, or will the food be placed on the table? If you are going to be serving children for a birthday party, will they be sitting to eat, or walking around with the food? If they are sitting down to a meal, what types of foods are child friendly? If they will be walking around, what kind of foods will be less messy to eat? Do you want to bother with utensils, or prefer to have all finger foods?
Similarly, for adults, if the food is a buffet, do you want utensils to be necessary? Can foods be prepared that are easy to pick up and eat with little mess? Will the event be completely informal, somewhat formal, or completely formal, like a 5 course meal? For an informal buffet, paper plates and plastic ware is fine, but even a buffet can be a formal event where good china is used. Still, utensils can be optional, if the proper planning for food is done.
Assembling Recipes and Determining Advance Prep
Once you have established the type of event and type of food, start to select recipes to fit the criteria and particularly those that can be made ahead. Some recipes can be made ahead in parts and assembled later. Keep an eye out for too many things requiring last minute work. Step through all the prep work in your mind and think of everything that needs to be accomplished. Too much last minute work is counterproductive. Select the recipes that will work best for your needs, as established above.
Shopping for Groceries
Collect all the recipes in one place. Sit down and read the lists of ingredients. Make a heading for each of the foods with a list below of all the items needed. Check off items you already have, and make a grocery list for those that are not in your pantry. Grocery shop for everything that is not too perishable at least a week ahead and do your shopping.
Make a List of the Order of Prep
Sit with all your recipes together and determine what can be made ahead, and by how many days. How many things can you accomplish on any given day? Think about the time involved and set yourself a limit of things to get done. The list should also include any cleaning and other housework or party setup time. Think which things can be done while sitting and conserving energy. Create a list for 5 days ahead, 4 days ahead, 3 days ahead, on up to the day of the event. Look over the list. Is it too heavy on any one day? Try to spread the work over the days without too heavy a workload on any one day.
Start With Advance Foods
Anything that can be prepared ahead and frozen is good. Pastries or cakes can often be frozen and thawed with ease. Many foods can be prepared and kept in the refrigerator. Preparing foods that will need to be baked at the last minute can still be assembled ahead and kept in the refrigerator.
Check off your list as you go. Once a task is accomplished, cross it off, or put a check beside it. If something is not finished on the day you hoped, do not panic. See if there is another thing that can be substituted. Stay calm and focused and enjoy the process.
Thank you for taking the time to read my article. I hope it was informative and helped you along your own culinary journey. Visit my Web site A Harmony of Flavors my Blog at A Harmony of Flavors Blog my Marketplace A Harmony of Flavors Marketplace or Facebook page, A Harmony of Flavors. I hope to see you there soon.
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