Party Time!

-Sunita Gurung

It’s that time of the year again when family get-together, great company, and good food hits the priority list in everyone’s agenda. Before you start looking for ideas in magazines or online, the first step to a really successful party is to plan ahead. The grocery store or the party supply place isn’t going to help much if you haven’t marked your calendar way in advance. Once you have finalized, the following list of handpicked party guidelines should help you to sail through party time with minimal hassles.

Cooking plans
It is very crucial to prepare in advance. For example, you can marinate your food items the previous day. This way, the food will not only taste better but will also cut down on your final preparation time.

Make sure you allow enough time for preparations. Since the quantities will be larger, washing, cutting, and heating will take more time than usual.

Make your snacks well in advance to avoid the last minute hassle. As most snacks are fried items, semi-cook them and keep aside. This way, anyone among your helping hands can continue from there and give the final touch.

Never make the mistake of experimenting or trying out new recipes. Always attempt those recipes that you are familiar with and have done successfully before at home.
It is very important to keep in mind the space available in your refrigerator. Save yourself the disaster of having your food spoilt at the last minute.
When you set the menu, make sure that you are equipped for cooking, serving, and refrigerating the planned dishes.

Try to find out in advance if there are any special dietary needs your guests might have. If you are not sure, it is wise to prepare at least one vegetarian option and make sure one dish is nut-free, besides offering a sugar-free alternative to the regular dessert that you may be serving.

Giving a personal touch to all your dishes matters a lot and will make your guests feel special.

Equally important is the taste and appearance of the food. It not only needs to look visually appealing but needs to have great taste as well.

Lastly, and most importantly, brief your domestic help with very clear instructions on how you want each dish to be heated and assembled. This will give you a lot of time to spend with your guests and save you from the stress of rushing into the kitchen every few minutes.

Serving the meal
Possibly, the easiest way to serve meals in a party is the buffet style. Place the plates at the beginning of the line and put napkins and silverware at the end. Leave enough room on the table for guests to keep the plates down in case they need to use both their hands to serve themselves.

It is wise to serve perishable items such as meat, dals, and vegetable curries in small portions and replenish them as and when needed. This not only prevents spoilage but also potential food poisoning. Use a fresh serving dish every time, or wash the empty one before refilling it.

Keep a separate area for drinks so that there is no interruption in the food line and guests can conveniently go for refills.

Keep the buffet area mess-free for cleanliness and ease of service. Place garbage cans at convenient locations for disposal of paper plates, cups, and other trash.

Take a look at your space and furniture arrangement. Since what works for every day does not work for a crowd, take the time to rearrange the furniture. In areas where the space is tighter, place the table against the wall and move the chairs to other spaces for additional seating. This type of arrangement gives guests plenty of room to mingle as well as easier access to the table.

Do not hesitate to ask for help. Your guests have come over to enjoy, but a close friend or a relative won’t mind giving you a quick hand with a simple task like helping you serve, provided that won’t risk soiled clothes and finery.

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