Article by Linda Kling
Did you know that there are some simple secrets to having a great buffet at your next party? Well, here are 15 easy tips to help you create this fun feast.
1. Have a dress rehearsal for your plates. Decide what serving dishes you will be using for the food at the party. Then, arrange them all on the table, checking to make sure there’s plenty of room. When you’re happy with the positioning of your bowls and platters, take a digital photo so you can recreate it when it’s time.
2. Frame your buffet table with mood lighting. Get out your little white Christmas lights and put them around the edge of the table for quick, elegant atmosphere. Twinkling is optional.
3. Name that food. Get some pretty tent cards or place cards. Do an internet search and you’ll find free printable versions. Then write the name of the food, plus the ingredients and put it next to that item on the table. Anyone with a food allergy or on a restrictive diet will then know if it’s safe for them to eat. This is also a hit with fussy people who are wary of mystery food. Sometimes your guests won’t sample an item just because they don’t know what’s in it. This makes everyone happy.
4. Put plates first and silverware last. The first thing your guests will want to do is grab a plate and fill it with food. But don’t make them juggle the utensils and napkin at the same time they’re piling on the goodies. Locate these things at the end of the table. That way, they can pick them up after they’ve made their selections from the buffet.
5. Eliminate the need for a knife. It isn’t easy trying to cut food on a plate balanced on your lap. Instead, choose menu items that are bite-size and fork-friendly.
6. Put a spoon in the dip. If you are serving any dips as part of your feast, this is practical idea. Your guests can easily put a dollop on their plates, so they can dip their chips, bread, crackers or vegetables after they leave the buffet table.
7. Provide little dishes for sauce. If you’re serving any food that comes with a sauce, dressing or dip, make these small bowls available. Your guests will appreciate that the other items on their plate are not swimming in sauce.
8. Consider having a vegetarian and low calorie dish. This could even be the same item. It’s thoughtful to make sure there is something everyone can eat.
9. Make it ahead. If you’re cooking up a storm for the buffet, try to use recipes that you can make before time, freeze and reheat for the party. You can find countless great do-ahead recipes online.
10. It’s not pretty, but feature the garbage can, anyway. There’s nothing worse than a hidden trash receptacle at a buffet. Make sure your guests can easily find where to toss their garbage.
11. Use your crock pot. It will keep your food warm, just like a chafing dish.
12. Stir and refill. Check on the buffet table regularly, and stir the food that’s been sitting. If you’re running low on anything, refill it. And if it is completely gone, remove the entire dish, so there is not an empty platter on the table.
13. Toss at two. Closely monitor any food that is on the buffet table at room temperature. When it’s been out for two hours, throw it out. If your party is outside on a hot day, then discard room temperature items at one hour.
14. Make it kid friendly. If you’re having a lot of children in attendance, then you might want to make a little table just for them. Include food that is appealing to kids like chicken nuggets, bagel pizzas, quartered peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, mini hot dogs and macaroni and cheese.
15. Save money. You can make a buffet economical. It doesn’t have to be a banquet of fancy food. You can cut costs by having a Mexican taco bar or Italian pasta buffet with assortment of sauces. Another idea is to do crepes with different fillings. And there’s nothing wrong with just an old fashioned ice cream sundae party with lots of toppings.
A party buffet is an excellent choice for a meal for any occasion. It gives your guests variety and flexibility. Just follow these simple tips and you’ll create a feast that will be a highlight of your special event.
About the Author
Linda Kling has been in the party business since 1992 and encourages you to visit her website at www.photo-party-favors.com, where you’ll find all kinds of unique photo favors, such as personalized mint tins, magnets, bookmarks, key rings, pocket notebooks, more. Plus lots of free party stuff (like buffet recipes, printables, quotes, trivia, etc)
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