Thursday, November 3, 2011

Enchanting Hostess or Hostzilla

Chances are, if you've been over to our house for a meal, I have it noted in my menu/entertaining diary.  It's not the kind of diary where I recap every thought or conversation.  Mine is more of a snapshot of the meal I planned and executed.

It's working so well for me, I thought I'd pass along my tip since we are upon the holiday entertaining season.

My diary started as a way to focus my preparation for planning a Thanksgiving meal while jotting down a grocery list in a notebook.  The notebook ended up becoming extremely handy keeping me focused while I was in the midst of cooking and serving.

I never really thought of myself as disorganized when it came to entertaining, but in the same token when you have house guests and you get busy chatting, well... the brain has many opportunities to miss something I had intended.  I know what you're thinking; no it has nothing to do with getting older!

On the back end, there have been additional benefits from my notebook.  When one of my guests returns for another evening of wining and dining, I don't repeat myself.  Without my handy notebook, the odds are I admit, I probably wouldn't be able to remember what I served the last time.  Or if the meal was a success or had a nice pairing with a side dish, I will recreate the menu for a new set of guests.

For all the reasons above, my notebook...okay my diary...keeps me calm in the kitchen.  I say, do whatever it takes to maintain that calmness.  The ultimate goal is to create a nice, memorable meal where you can enjoy your guests; not a harried one turning you into hostzilla.

If you want to get a grip in the same way I do when it comes entertaining, here's what I recommend you include:
  • Acquire a journal or keep it electronically
  • Note the meal being planned (i.e. Cocktails/Appetizers, Dinner, Brunch, etc.)
  • Holiday or celebration if relevant
  • Guest names
  • All dishes and beverages to be served
  • Identify the cookbooks, recipe sites, etc. for quick reference
  • Ingredients for a run to the store or Farmer's Market
  • Optional:  decoration(s), special serving plates, invitations
  • Optional:  Room for notes on the meal's pros and cons
  • Optional:  if keeping electronically, take pictures

    Just think of this as one more step in your Mise En Place.  Do you have any tips that make entertaining a bit easier?

    1 comment:

    1. Now this is a Type A personality! The diary idea is perfect and I am so glad you believe this is for any age host and not just for seniors or the inebraited. You do set a beautiful table. I have been known to leave a side dish behind -- nothing like a good list.
      - Barbara


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