There is something profoundly different about whipping up food for a party that there is when you are just cooking the evening meal. There is an added sense of pressure and excitement that folks outside of your immediate family will be sampling your wares. But how can you make sure that you get your party food spot on every time? Well, just keep on reading to find out.
Do plan ahead
The number one rule about party food is: you don’t talk about…. oh no, sorry, that’s Fight Club! Actually, the number one rule about part food is planning ahead. This is doubly important if you plan on making the food yourself, rather than buying the stuff that heats up in the oven.
But what sort of things should you be thinking about? Well, firstly you need to consider numbers. As there is nothing worse that getting to a soiree and all the good stuff is gone because the host didn’t put enough out.
You also need to think about time. The time you have for preparation and the time and you have for cooking. If you are planning a brunch party then choosing a dish that takes six hours to marinate, and cook isn’t going to be any good.
Unless you want to get up while it’s still dark. Yes, you want to serve something impressive, but be practical in terms of what you can do in the time that you have.
Don’t overwhelm yourself
Of course, it also important that you have a good time when you host a party, so that means not taking on so much on that you are overwhelmed. Remember it’s party not the entrance round of Masterchef!
To do this, cook things that you know work, and that you have cooked before. It’s also a great idea to put out snacks like olives and nuts to keep peckish guests from bursting into the kitchen, and asking when the food will be ready.
You can even get things like salted cashews online at a reasonable price now. So you don’t have to worry about doling out large bowls to keep annoyed guests, satisfied and silent before your main course comes out.
Do prep ahead
The next golden rule that you should live by is you are dealing with party food is prep ahead. You want the least to do that you possibly can come the time of the party. Or you’ll just end up in the kitchen while everyone else has a good time.
That means cooking things that can be made way ahead of time and just popped in the oven to warm through. For example, if you are hosting a dinner party, a beef bourguignon or a stroganoff is a great choice. This is because you can make it and then leave it until it’s time to eat.
Or if you are serving hors d’oeuvres at your soiree, make things like asparagus spears wrapped pancetta, mini quiches. Or even chicken yakitori skewers that can all be prepared way ahead of time, then served cold or warmed through.