3
   

Putting It All Together,..Entertaining,..Sensibly and Simply

 
 
JerryR
 
Reply Sat 5 Apr, 2003 07:56 am
Hiya all!!

We've been spending alot of time talking recipes, techiniques, favorite foods and restaurants.
When it comes down to it, I think alot of people get intimidated when they throw a party,...and there really is no need to.
It's all in the planning and organization,..like Mary Poppins said, "Well begun, is half done."
Simple decorating can be effective, easy and inexpensive. You can make beautiful invitations at home, from your computer. Sometimes a single flower can be more effective than a whole garden. Food can easily be made ahead to the point where you just need to finish its cooking quickly in the oven. Good wine doesn't have to empty your bank account.

It is entirely possible for you to throw a party, and enjoy yourself! Very Happy
This is the place for questions and suggestions, some of us throw parties for a living, and we're right here in this forum to help! Very Happy
  • Topic Stats
  • Top Replies
  • Link to this Topic
Type: Discussion • Score: 3 • Views: 5,171 • Replies: 27
No top replies

 
littlek
 
  1  
Reply Sat 5 Apr, 2003 09:10 am
Wow, you're right, it is overwhelming! My housemates have dinner parties quite often. I've joined in, but mostly it's one housemate who does most of the cooking. She loves to cook. I make sides and do clean up. Usually we ask the guests to bring wine and beer (we always have left over alcohol). I've never thrown a dinner party by myself.
0 Replies
 
JerryR
 
  1  
Reply Sat 5 Apr, 2003 10:45 am
Hi LittleK, yes it can seem like a daunting task, but you can make it as easy as possible.

On the food end of it, a good thing to do is to take your menu, break it down to individual components,...make a "Prep List". List each recipe as it's own heading, under each heading list the tasks for each dish,.ie:
Tomato Sauce
1. chop onions
2. saute onions,...etc.

It makes things clearer, and is quite motivational to cross things off of the list as you finish them! Very Happy

Get all of the recipes together, measure and process all of your ingredients before actually making the dish. This can save time, plus let's say 3 recipes call for chopped garlic, and two call for chopped onion,...it makes more sense to chop all of the garlic at once, and all of the onion at once,...it saves time and clean up!!
0 Replies
 
JerryR
 
  2  
Reply Sat 5 Apr, 2003 10:58 am
Alot of desserts freeze very well. As a matter of fact some cakes benefit from a few days in the deep freeze, thawing as a moister cake than when it went in.

Things like cakes, pies, quiche, pastries can all be made the week before, kept in your freezer and taken out the night before, or the morning of the party.


I also want to keep this thread open to all aspects of entertaining, like right now I am planning my parents 50th wedding anniversary, that'll be in a hall, and done by the hall's caterer. Twisted Evil
0 Replies
 
littlek
 
  1  
Reply Sat 5 Apr, 2003 01:17 pm
GAsp! Another caterer????
0 Replies
 
JerryR
 
  1  
Reply Sat 5 Apr, 2003 09:26 pm
Yep littlek, another caterer. Shocked

The hall we picked, required the use of their in-house caterer. The hall is a place my parents and their friends have done alot in over the years, so it seemed right for the occasion, plus they all know where it is and there's tons of parking. It will allow me to concentrate on the details that can make the party special,..the flowers, making the video photo album, a memory book (we sent blank pages with all of the invites), favors and I'll be doing the cake,..it's 150+ people, so there are PLENTY of other things to keep me busy, plus I'll be able to relax and enjoy the party when the day arrives. Very Happy
0 Replies
 
JerryR
 
  1  
Reply Sun 6 Apr, 2003 07:35 am
While searching for party favors, I came accross this site. They sell those foil wrapped, English party "crackers". You know, the ones with the little hat, bubbles, candy and stuff inside of them.

Old English Crackers


They also sell them "ready to fill", so that's what I've ordered, so we can make the candy, and fill the crackers with that, a little gift and an anniversary message. They'll make the tables look nicer, and add a touch of whimsy to the whole thing. They were pretty inexpensive. Very Happy If I had the time, they also sell the components to make them yourself,...really cheap! Shocked
0 Replies
 
TerryDoolittle
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 Apr, 2003 05:00 pm
I tend to plan parties using the KISS rule: Keep It Simple Stupid. I seldom plan a sit-down dinner as I find a buffet is easier for me to plan and execute especially if I'm doing most of the work by myself. Also, plan dishes that freeze well, either so you can make them in the weeks or days before the party or pop them in the freezer afterward (too many leftovers go to waist, um, waste). My biggest secret: know when to make it yourself and when to buy it premade. Sometimes I "just can't seem to find that recipe right now." Wink
0 Replies
 
cavfancier
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Apr, 2003 07:15 am
Grrrr...Jerry, in-house caterers are the bane of my existence...don't get me started...don't know what it is like in Boston, but when planning corporate functions in Toronto, finding a properly outfitted venue that takes 'outside' caterers is a nightmare. Evil or Very Mad
0 Replies
 
JerryR
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Apr, 2003 09:17 pm
Cav- it's pretty much the same here in Boston,.it can be a real pain!

Man, I had more to say,..but exhaustion is catching up with me.
I'll be back tomorrow! Very Happy
0 Replies
 
cavfancier
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Apr, 2003 07:38 am
Well Jerry, if you ever need a venue in Toronto, the only one I really like dealing with is the Mielehaus Showroom...it's Miele, so the equipment is top of the line...and they simply rent out the space to anyone who wants it. There is a fantastic show kitchen, and a conference room. The only drawback is that 35 is pretty much the maximum capacity. I have done events for Pfizer and AT&T there and it's been great. Smile
0 Replies
 
JerryR
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Apr, 2003 08:51 am
Hi Cav,

Thanks for the tip on Toronto! Very Happy

I have a few choice places here in Boston, unfortunately not very many of them have well-equipped kitchens. A couple of the mansions do, I like using them. I also have developed relationships with Boston Ballet and use their grand studio alot,..beautiful rooms, great view of the city, but complete set up and breakdown every time.
I think that my favorite would be the Aquarium, except it ALWAYS smells like the aquarium. Laughing
Some of the museums work well too, but their hours are restrictive.

Most of the events I do offsite are for 200-300 people, and are really high-end, so the venues are very important. I prefer doing the smaller parties, 30-70 people, in a home. I think it makes people feel really good about their house when they see it transformed into an elegant party. Very Happy
0 Replies
 
cavfancier
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Apr, 2003 02:16 pm
Dang Jerry, I want your client list Very Happy I work mainly in private homes. My passion is for the 2-20 sit down dinner crowd in-home, but the larger functions are my bread and butter. Nobody here is really doing the small parties, so it is a niche market, but it is growing. Hey, at the aquariaum, I suppose you could stick with fish Very Happy
0 Replies
 
JerryR
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Apr, 2003 06:49 pm
Actually Cav, I have a couple of clients I'd love to give ya,..but I'm afraid you'd never speak to me again if I did! Laughing Laughing Laughing

Royal Pains in my keester!! Laughing
You know the type,..penny wise, pound foolish.
"What do you mean, WE have to pay for EACH server. Well, we think you only need three waiters to serve 300 people"

Always makes me laugh, they want to serve Caviar and Champagne, and pay for a keg of Bud and some pizza! Laughing Laughing Laughing

BTW, I have served fish in the Aquarium, got some sick pleasure from serving sashimi in front of some of its friends. Laughing
0 Replies
 
kitchenpete
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Apr, 2003 06:19 am
I love to hear how you pros do it!

Although I've been cooking dinners, etc. for friends since I was 13 (yes, I've told that enough times), it's always interesting to refine techniques and planning ideas, as well as exchanging receipes.

Biggest events that I've catered are a picnic for about 40, buffets or canapes for 20-30 and sit-down dinners of up to 20.

The key (for me) is to estimate realistic quantities of food an alchohol for the crowd and not go completely OTT - it always looks great to have some left over, but it's no good if it's 70% of what you cooked (I find that it's always the green salad that gets left at buffets!).
0 Replies
 
cavfancier
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Apr, 2003 07:42 am
Lol, Jerry, should just add service in as a 'hidden cost'...or, let them go with only 3 servers (as an example)....sometimes I just wanna do that for revenge Twisted Evil Hey, did the fish in the aquarium go crazy from the sashimi? Once I did a gig with some smoked salmon...opened it up and their goldfish started doing laps around the bowl....freaked me out a bit Very Happy
0 Replies
 
cavfancier
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Apr, 2003 07:52 am
Hey kitchenpete...most of my work is plated dinners, so it comes down to individual portions. However, it is going to be BBQ season soon....I usually allow 1 1/2-2 sandwiches per person, plus side dishes. So, when presenting a selection of BBQ items, I do the math and divide it up between the selections, and take an educated guess as to what will be more popular. Burgers and chicken I have found are more popular than hot dogs or fish. For green salads, I generally estimate 50 grams per person, bean or potato salads, about 200 grams, as they are more dense. Vegetable or pasta salads, 150 grams. For canapes, I generally suggest 4-5 per person, if dinner is also served, 8-10 if it is only canapes. For wines, 1/2 bottle per person is suggested, but that assumes you will get 6 4-oz. glasses per bottle. I have found that assuming 4 glasses per bottle is a better estimate. For buffets, with the meat course, whatever it is, 6 oz. portions are generally ample, as there is generally so much other stuff to eat as well. Hope that helps out for your next function! Very Happy
0 Replies
 
cavfancier
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Apr, 2003 07:57 am
Jerry, should tell you the story of one client and her husband who were high-profile...secured not 1 but 2 registered sommeliers to do wine and service for them. After a 6 1/2 hour shift, including the cleaning, of course, she asked them to set up the kitchen table for their kids breakfast the next morning. Then she tips them in cash. Next day, I get an e-mail saying she was drunk and accidentally tipped them 'too much'. Then she says she won't ask for any money back, but 'they should have known' they were overtipped, and said something at the time. These are the kind of people I hope never call me again. Evil or Very Mad
0 Replies
 
JerryR
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Apr, 2003 06:29 pm
Hi all!!

TerryDoo!!!,..Yeah simple is the way to go. Buffets are a great way to save time, and can be alot more fun, as they encourage mingling.
When I do my own parties, if it's a seated dinner for friends I like to serve everything family style, I think it's alot more fun...maybe it just reminds me of some great celebrations growing up. And, Yes, there are some great prepared foods out there,..and there's nothing wrong with saving a little time sometimes. Very Happy

KitchenPete- Parties for 40??,, that's alot, puts you in the "pro" category as far as I'm concerned! :wink:
Planning amounts of food can seem difficult,..but I think it's easier if you know the people you're serving,..with friends at least I know what they like. The proportions Cav mentioned, are great. I also think that they are guidelines, and that the best judgement comes with the more parties you do.

Cav- When I was managing restaurants I would occasionally have guests call the next day, thinking that they had over-tipped,.ASKING FOR REFUNDS!! Shocked Can you imagine the thought process that would make you think that was OK??,..I can't.
Most of my clients know me, and just accept my judgement as far as the amount of servers I need,..but there are always the exceptions! Evil or Very Mad

I have just been dead-honest with them, and at times have said "Maybe you should hire another caterer?",..They always back down, then end up thinking I'm their best friend,...weirdos! Laughing
0 Replies
 
TerryDoolittle
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 May, 2003 08:15 pm
Hey Jerry! I was thinking about you tonight. Is the big soiree this weekend or next?
0 Replies
 
 

Related Topics

Quiznos - Discussion by cjhsa
Should We Eat Our American Neighbours? - Question by mark noble
Favorite Italian Food? - Discussion by cjhsa
The Last Thing You Put In Your Mouth.... - Discussion by Dorothy Parker
Dessert suggestions, please? - Discussion by msolga
 
  1. Forums
  2. » Putting It All Together,..Entertaining,..Sensibly and Simply
Copyright © 2021 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.03 seconds on 07/28/2021 at 08:27:37