Cuisine at home Forums
On making entertaining easier-at last! - Printable Version

+- Cuisine at home Forums (
+-- Thread: On making entertaining easier-at last! (/showthread.php?tid=35812)

On making entertaining easier-at last! - foodfiend - 07-19-2007

Okay, a few months ago I was whining about having weekend guests and being tired because I felt that I had to do it all myself and asked for some easy, do-ahead, tried & true recipes which could help. Well what I got (in addition to some great recipes) were a lot of suggestions on how I should be allowing others to contribute, to help. I took it to heart and did just that. Last weekend was the first opportunity I had to do this and I thought I’d share the results.

First, I started out small. I prepared a tentative menu for all of the meals, decided what I could make ahead, what I could put together easily, and what items others could bring. I sent the entire menu to everyone, with notes on which items would be brought by whom, and I have found out that there are some friends who can be relied on and some who cannot!

First, I asked George & Tammy to bring a tossed salad. The rest of that dinner menu consisted of pasta, a blueberry vinaigrette for the salad, and a berry tiramisu for dessert. Tammy said that she noticed the type of vinaigrette and was inspired—she made a wonderful salad with mixed greens, chopped pear, blueberries, goat cheese, and pine nuts!

Next. George & Tammy provided fresh fruit for both breakfasts and brought a great assortment of melon, peaches, raspberries, strawberries, Ranier cherries, & blueberries. She prepared the fresh fruit bowl for each breakfast and it was great not to have to go to that trouble to prepare!

Also for breakfast, Ted brought a very interesting assortment of gourmet jams and jellies to go with my 5-grain toast (and a frittata). I also asked him and his wife to bring cookies for a picnic lunch. Well, Millie was unable to make it, becoming ill at the last minute, but she sent two beautiful trays of homemade cookies. She gets a lot of points in my book!

George brought enough liquor to keep us all under the table for a week, and he spent a good deal of time at the blender, mixing up frozen delights. And this, I have to add, was unasked for—he just arrived with a big ol’ carton of booze and mixers. What a guest!

Another couple forgot to bring the cheese and crackers for munching on the boat during the afternoon, but did remember to stop at a bakery and buy an angel food cake for dessert (I served slices of it grilled with grilled pineapple and mango slices and a lime glaze).

Okay, it doesn’t sound like much—a tossed salad, breakfast fruit, jams, cookies… but having someone else doing these gave me some time and I’m so grateful. And now I know that I can do it! Next time, maybe I’ll ask for more…

Also, I was quite proud of myself on another level. For the veggie skewers I had an assortment of zucchini, yellow squash, red bell peppers, and eggplant. Tammy asked to help and I thought, okay she can cut these to skewer. I gave her the squash and told her to cut them into ¾” slices. As I left to get my kitchen ruler (!!!!), she just started chopping away. I was a bit dismayed to see that the slices were ranging from 1” to 1 ½”, but I said nothing. Likewise for the red peppers and eggplant, which were cut in non-even, non-uniform pieces. My husband noticed and was proud of me. I let it go! I went with the flow! Good heavens, who knows where I’ll end up now?!?!?

Oh, I also bought a premade veggie tray with premade dip. I am becoming a sloth!!!

But it was fun, and easier, and I thank all of those who gave me the encouragement to give this a try!

Re: On making entertaining easier-at last! - Mare749 - 07-19-2007

Vicci, let me be the first to congratulate you!!! I am so proud of you because I know how hard that was for you to let go and just trust that it would all turn out just fine. And it sounds like it was a complete success!

I'm sure that your friends felt good bringing something and sharing their talents with you too. And if a few things were less than perfect, it doesn't matter. I'll bet your hubbie was very proud of you!


Re: On making entertaining easier-at last! - pjcooks - 07-19-2007

Good for you! I'm glad to see you're letting go a bit. I just sent my kitchen ruler to the sewing room.
Anything that needs a ruler in my kitchen these days, doesn't need to be made

Glad you're relaxing a bit and sharing the load. I'm trying to do the same!


Re: On making entertaining easier-at last! - Half_Baked - 07-20-2007

That's great, Vicci! It sounds like most of your friends happily stepped up to the plate! (lol, that was not meant as a pun )

Re: On making entertaining easier-at last! - HomeCulinarian - 07-20-2007

Thanx for letting us know how things turned out. It sounds to me like most of your friends enjoyed contributing and helping.

I know, too, how hard it is to give instructions and when the outcome isn't exactly what you meant, you can finally bring yourself take a pause and ask... does it REALLY matter? The answer almost always is "no".

Re: On making entertaining easier-at last! - cjs - 07-20-2007

oh my, Vicci!! I just want to know how many holes you have in your tongue from biting it... GOOD FOR YOU!! I'll bet your guests felt better about themselves by being a part of this and being able to help you.

"George and Tammy" - are you kidding????? That's so funny. and do they sing?

Well, there's measuring - lxxf - 07-20-2007

and then there's measuring. One is one with an actual instrument (ruler) and the other is done with a different standard -ie, the length of a dinner-fork tine as opposed to a salad-fork tine, or cutting one length of something and the rest to fit the first length. I used to teach middle school math and one of our exercises was to measure things with non-traditional standards. For example their desks were so many paperclips long as opposed to so many index cards long. Regardless of the standard, the graphs were identical. Sorry, I ranged off-topic.

Re: Well, there's measuring - pjcooks - 07-20-2007

Lxxf, that's how I do it these days. It took me a while to realize I'm no longer in cooking school and my julienne and brunoise (old) skills just aren't applicable with the work I do now. No more cutting veggies into 7 sided football shapes, either!!( how many of us hated that exercise)

Nope, I've learned your way is perfectly acceptable and adaptable.


Re: Well, there's measuring - cjs - 07-20-2007

"No more cutting veggies into 7 sided football shapes, either!!( how many of us hated that exercise)" - Oh, my Chef Bui was such a stickler....

Re: Well, there's measuring - pjcooks - 07-20-2007

Fun to be on our own!!