Just like we were discussing on our last post. December could be a very stressful month because of the holiday and dinner parties. Nonetheless, with the proper care and anticipation, you can avoid going insane.
We already went over tips and suggestions to organize and cleaning your kitchen. Today, we want to share some tips to stay on top of the situation and be ready for the unexpected at the party.
Before Hitting the Menu
It is imperative to take inventory of any basic supplies that you’re missing, and purchase or borrow them before the party. Check your utensils, cookware, serve ware, spice cabinet, cooking oils, canned goods and other pantry necessities. Now, before doing this, get rid of any expired food, stale chips and cereal boxes. You need space for all the new snacks, ingredients and leftovers you are about to stock in. Therefore, a well-organized space is a must.
We kept this one out from our previous post because the refrigerator requires special care. First of all, it needs to be cleaned from the inside out. You can bet people are going to be opening and closing it all day long.
Get rid of any old vegetables or fruits and any old food container. All of them are usually a source of bad odors. Remove your refrigerator shelving and wash it in the sink with dish soap. Dry the shelves with a dishtowel, and make sure they’re secure when putting them back in the fridge.
A common mistake is overfilling the fridge so cold airflow gets blocked. Clean the cold air vents and make sure no food or condiments are blocking the vents so that the fridge stays nice and cool throughout the evening. Also, replace any burned-out lights.
Be a Good Host
You need to be on top of your game if you want to survive any major events in your kitchen. Same goes for a dinner party. Go over your guests list and as you double check attendance, check for food allergies or restrictions. Have non-alcoholic beverages available for kids and people who don’t drink.
Once you figure out your dinner or party menu, make a list of everything you’ll need and post it on the fridge or your handy message board. Make an inventory of your ingredients and check out what’s missing.
Go over basic stuff such as flour, salt, pepper, butter and olive oil. “All the time I am pretty sure I have some ingredient, just to prove myself wrong, right in the middle of cooking.”
It is pretty helpful to have extra snacks, quick meals and plenty coffee on hand for your guests. The party could get extended and you might have to get creative to keep them happy and entertained.
Replace the old ice with fresh. Old ice can catch a funny taste from all the stuff you freeze in it and it could leave a bad taste in your drink. Take time to toss the old one away and make a full new batch for all of your guests.
I know we are talking about holiday parties. Nonetheless, accidents do happen, and it is better to be prepared. Make sure to keep children away from the kitchen. Think of adapting a playing area for them. Set it up with video games, books, toys and anything that can be fun for them.
Make sure to block stairs and dangerous areas and check your smoke detector. Also, keep on hand your first aid kit and make sure none of your guest is allergic to any of the food you are about to serve. “Do yourself a favor and avoid the gluten free speech from an unhappy guest”.
Everything in Place
Make sure you have enough serving dishes, plates and utensils for all of your guests. Especially if you are using fancy ones. If you choose disposables or “not-so-nice” silverware or plates, make sure everyone gets a similar set, at least per table. Set up place cards, centerpieces, candles, napkin holders and cloth napkins with enough time to have them nice and ready. Fix the decorations over your table and countertop. But make sure they are not in the way for preparations, children running around or people trying to a hold conversation over a tall centerpiece.
Finally, stock up on enough disposable containers and food wrap for leftovers. Whether you plan on giving them away or enjoying them over the upcoming days, you want to make sure it’s easy to clean up after a nice, long dinner.
Most importantly have a good time and enjoy the party. If you get stressed, it won’t matter how good the party goes, guests will notice and will not be able to relax. Happy Holidays!