are you a planner? if not, hosting out-of-town guests would be daunting. even though they may be low maintenance, it never changes how special i want the time to be.
so i thought i’d write out how i plan since i’ve had several friends ask me for advice.
first, start a pinterest board for your event. even if it is just a dinner. make it private if you don’t want people to see. or not. pinterest is hands down one of the best places to get recipes, decoration ideas and thoughts on entertaining – everything!
second, having a game plan is key. it’s funny how this spilled into my work as well. i’ve seemed to become a stickler on timing and i’m like that at home too. it’s not enough to have a couple recipes printed out and the ingredients. ROF and i found that out the hard way when we made boeuf bourguignon with my sister. we found out that the mushrooms had to marinate for like 8 hours and the beef had to cook for 4. we ate at 2am in the morning (and after 3+ bottles of wine) – so timing is everything.
be crazy about it. i keep my game plan in an app called evernote. that way i can replicate it.
I have a notebook called visitors itineraries, then inside it is the event like “christmas 2017” and then inside that i have folders for grocery list, menu/recipes and game plan. the plan tells me exactly when to do something and that way i can plan ahead and make sure food gets hot to the table on time. i am very literal – kind of like an idiot talking to herself…-
“take meat out of fridge at 3pm”
“put meat in marinade at 3:30pm, preheat oven 400”
“meat in oven at 4pm”
“cook at …..” you get the picture.
third, do as much as humanly possible in advance. make the salad dressing, trim the veggies, bake the cake – anything at all that can be done in advance – do it. this is something my mentor (from a distance), the barefoot contessa, has said many times. make it in advance. in fact, her new cookbook is all about doing just that. unless the cooking can be a fun group activity and you’ve got some casual, hang-around-the-house-time, limit what you’re doing while your guests are there. of course, this depends on the guests you’re having. if it’s family or close friends – have them join in and help – no biggie. if it’s more formal, don’t be chopping the veggies while your guests feel helpless staring at you!
fourth, set up a bar away from the kitchen. it’s where everyone congregates and if you’re trying to get food prepared, it can be challenging to work around everyone. don’t feel as if you have to have a fancy bar. anything can become a bar. the more quirky, the more fun it is.
get a big basket and fill it with basic booze, couple bottles of wine, already open, glasses an ice bucket and some lemon/lime wedges – there you go!
fifth –just work your plan. when i have guests for a couple of days, just extend the itinerary and the plan. i typically have a lot of fun with our guests…ha… and can forget that i’m supposed to make the breakfast casserole for tomorrow!
hope this helps! please add any tips you have.