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A Fine Dining Experience: Hosting Your First Formal At-Home Fete

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

Hosting your first “grown up” event that’s more than just cocktails and finger foods, and includes family as well as friends can be quite exciting. But, it can also be quite exasperating and overwhelming. In fact, if you’re the kind of gal whose mom didn’t necessarily “love” being in the kitchen or didn’t teach you much about the fine art of dinner parties and entertaining you may feel like your in hot water as you try to host.

No need to sweat it. Simply follow the “rules” and simplify your entertaining strategy.

· Make it a team effort. Don’t hesitate to ask your spouse for help whether its cutting up veggies and giving you helping hand in the kitchen or asking your mate to vacuum or set the table. Remember, two heads are better than one and four hands and legs are better than two. So, both of your working together means getting double the work done in half the time.

· Make it a three-for-all. By that we mean, turn your attention to no more than three main details that you want to define you “event’. Decide on what your focus is and then simplify everything else. So, if food is your thing, go easy on the décor, but if atmosphere is everything, play that up and get pre-made hors d’oeuvres and simply heat them up, and take the emphasis off cooking. Remember it’s better to do one or two things REALLY WELL, than to do many things hald-heartedly.

· Make your guests your FIRST priority. Sure you love trendy chutneys and exotic sushi, but your guests are a lot more conventional in their tastes than that. Remember that when setting the mood and making the menu. After all you are doing this for your guests, so it stands to reason that you cater to their tastes. You can always include one of your fancy favourites as an addition or as a “side dish”.

· Remember, “pre-made” doesn’t have to be a dirty word: I’m NOT a fan of canned or pre-packaged foods and like to do everything from scratch. But, that requires lots of time and energy, especially with regard to the “prep work”. And, that’s exactly where frozen or pre-cut fruits and veggies can come in hand, making it easier for you to focus on mixing the ingredients and making the main meal. You may even want to consider investing in some pre-made drinks and store-bought appetizers. And, if you’re concerned about keeping it healthy, get your pre-made goods at your local health food store.

· Make due with a little help from your friends. Don’t want to impose? Just remind (some) of your guests just how much you love their specialty or signature dish and how you’ll never be able to do it justice, and how much you’d appreciate if they could make it and bring it by. Most would be happy to help, especially after receiving such accolades.

· Make use of space other than that at the table. A sit-down meal may mean over-stuffing your table. Instead consider setting up some chaffing dishes and presenting your meal, buffet style.

· Make sure you have a back up plan. Remember to have a plan B just in case you drop one of your main dishes, run out of a favourite, etc. You’ll also want have a plan in place for younger and older guests meeting not only their dietary requirements but also making sure there are plenty of topics and activities “they” can engage in.

Long Island Home & Lifestyle Articles > A Fine Dining Experience: Hosting Your First Formal At-Home Fete

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