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about entertaining, cooking, etiquette and more.
does it how to entertain without stressing yourself out by Yee-Fan Sun |
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Good news for cleaning phobes: tidying up for a party is all about
superficial efforts. You've got plenty of other things to take care of
without having to go nuts giving the pad the deep clean. Instead,
concentrate the clean-up on what people will actually notice. The dining
table and the coffee table definitely need a quick wipe down, but
dusting the bookshelves? Not so much a priority. And barring the
existence of giant dustballs rolling across your living room like
tumbleweeds in the desert, you can probably skip the vacuuming. Unless
you're making folks sit on the floor, no one will notice if it's less
than eat-off-it clean. Dim the lights to a nice soft glow, and things
will look fine.
It took me a long time and far too many cold/overcooked dinners to
realize this, but when you're serving up hot food at your party, it is
perfectly okay to still be cooking when the guests get there. In fact,
most of the time, that's the way things should be. After all, chances
are good that people will arrive at least 10-15 minutes late; moreover,
it's nice to give guests a little time to chill before you start
rounding them up to dig into the food while it's still hot. Basically,
it's generally safe to assume that you won't get hot things on the table
until 30-40 minutes after you've told people to arrive (give even more
leeway if you know for a fact that your friends tend to be the tardy
sort). All of which means there's no sense in freaking out if you hear
that first knock on your door, and the main eats still have a ways to go
before they're ready. Take your time; you're doing absolutely fine.
Folks can join you in the kitchen as they show up; you can even corral
them to help. Meanwhile, tide hunger pangs for prompt guests: fifteen
minutes before start time, set out some bowls of…
If you've been planning this party for weeks, and prepping fancy little
finger foods just for the occasion, fabulous: by all means present your
amazing goodies to the guests. But if you're running short on time and
energy, don't feel bad about taking the quickie route. Just pour some
good-quality potato or vegetable chips into some attractive serving
bowls (it takes two seconds: no serving straight out of the bag!);
scatter them where guests are likely to gather, and folks will happily
munch away while you finish up in the kitchen. For something a little
healthier, a bowl of Kalamata olives (with pits, please -- tastier and
less expensive to boot) paired with a bowl of mixed nuts works dandy.
These snacks serve two-fold: (1) they're filling and salty, which will
help to stave off the stomach rumbles, and (2) they give folks something
to do while they wait for the real food.
lounge . nourish
host . laze
. home .