Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Parties - they're not just about the food...well, maybe a little

Has anyone else gone through this whole day thinking it wasTuesday? No? I'm the only one? OK never mind. Here's my tardy post this week.

Party planning...hmmm. Who doesn't love a good party? When I was a single girl, my roommates and I reveled in having our little apartment alive with fun and festivities. One roomie in particular, Debbie, and I were the perfect team. I was the mostly in the kitchen who thought up and executed the goodies, and she was the entertainment. We got so good at it that we were able to throw together impromptu get-togethers with ease, and those were often the best ones.

Nowadays, it's a little trickier to plan parties, so whatever I can do to make it easier on myself, well, that's what I try and do. Here's a fun read that I own with some valuable tips in this book, and it's one of my favorites:

Her tastes are definitely more refined than mine (I've never baked a rack of lamb or made any kind of pate'), but this presidential-budget-writer-for-nuclear-programs / turned / caterer / turned / cookbook-author-and-TV-personality makes me dream of perfectly successful parties with minimal effort. She's a smart cookie, imparting party wisdom based on past successes and not-so-successes. In the book she intermingles menues and coordinating recipes with tips. Here are a few:
  • Stay cool. Don't let the guests know you're stressed or that you've been slaving or obsessing over the food all day. "Otherwise, they feel bad that you have worked so hard, and the party is off to a rocky start." We're glad they've come, so act like it.

  • Assemble food. Instead of toiling for hours or even days before the party, it's OK to purchase food and assemble it the day of, and you'll be a more relaxed and pleasant host because of it.

  • Cook together. Your guests can be your sous chefs, so give them a nice cold beverage and put them to work! It's more fun that way when everyone is involved. This is a fun idea for a pizza party.

Recently, our baby girl turned ONE and it was probably the least stressful birthday party I've put together. The theme was around "spring chicken" since that's what she is! It was later in the afternoon, so it was lunch time but before dinner. I used my Stoneware I've collected over the years, which is a silver/pewter composite that is molded into bowls and plates. This tied together the presentation of the food. The tablecloth is more summery, but it's so cheery, I just couldn't NOT use it.

There were snacky things for both kids and adults, the centerpiece being my attempt at petit fours. They were more of a free-form glorified cupcake, but yummy just the same. I made these a day in advance and brushed the cake with just a little simple syrup to keep it from drying out.

And what did the guest of honor think of her first big she-bang?
...and that's all that really matters, right?
Party on!

1 comment:

  1. What a nice looking party, Jen. Wish I could've been there with cute little Lydia!