business often begins with a successful event. Detailed planning
is a smart way to assure success during the busy holidays. Whether
you are planning a breakfast for the wife of the UN Secretary-General,
lunch for the President of the Dominican Republic, a formal dinner
for the Prince of Jordan (all challenges we have faced) or just
a casual holiday gathering with business colleagues or friends,
the following tips for entertaining may be useful:
put the bar, reception line or food near the entrance. Pick
a spot your guests wouldn't normally go to. Identify dead
space and make something happen there, e.g., coffee bar or
food in several locations to avoid congestion and provide
plenty of properly sized napkins.
two individual glass plates or between one glass plate on
top of a brightly colored silk draped tray, arrange leaves
and rose petals in an attractive pattern. It makes a beautiful
presentation for passed hors d'oeuvres.
herbs or orchids in a clean clay saucer. Top with a glass
plate upon which a salad or appetizer is placed.
serving platters with ti leaves or banana leaves sprayed with
stainless steel individual bowls from a restaurant supply
house - one size larger than the other. Weight down or tape
together. Fill with water & freeze. Unmold and serve cold
soup, sorbet or shrimp in them. They will last approx. 30
min. when placed on a napkin-lined plate.
pot stickers in a giant bamboo steamer.
clean, lined terra-cotta planters for silverware or chips.
various levels on a buffet table using wrapped phone books,
boxes, any sturdy object wrapped in fabric napkins or cloths.
attractive hors d'oeuvre trays use mirrors, colorful tiles,
or clean stones from your garden or tile shop.
choosing the right quantities...think about your guests comfort:
several food varieties on the same buffet-serving platter
is preferable so your guests can find something they like
the food is passed, don't serve anything that is drippy, larger
than bite size, anything that requires a knife to cut or pasta
noodles, especially if your guests need to stand to eat.
sure you provide plenty of cocktail tables for guests to place
their drinks upon at a reception and have the area bussed
most guests are reluctant to dip into a communal sauce bowl,
it's better to drizzle the sauce on the food item first.
you serve something with toothpicks, provide a refuse bowl
on the serving platter. A candleholder, small glass or shot
glass works best. If the food is passed make sure the waiters
offer napkins and wait for the guest to place the used toothpick
in a receptacle before moving on to the next guest.
you have insufficient refrigerator space, place blue ice or
a package of frozen corn under a platter & wrap these items
together. The food will stay cool for hours.
you're short on help, serve only red & white wine and a specialty
drink such as margaritas, hot spiced cider, martini bar vs.
full bar. A good autumn non-alcoholic punch is apple cider
with lemon juice and ginger juice with a splash of sparkling
you provide three glasses per person, tie a nametag on each
glass. Using real glass or china is always nicer than plastic.
For a three-hour party, plan 2 1/2 glasses of wine per person
(four for a dinner party).
you are the guest, don't forget to bring a hostess gift of
wine, candy, flowers or a holiday food specialty item. It
is not polite to ask that the gift you bring to your hostess
be consumed while you are present. If the hostess chooses
to do so, that is fine.
you are a guest in the home of a European, send flowers the
day before; don't leave immediately after dinner; don't clear
the plates immediately, and don't ask to take home the leftover
cheese ball you brought as a hostess gift. It's gauche! Europeans
have different customs and traditions than Americans.
- a happy guest receives something to eat & drink upon arrival!!!
a small wrapped package with a name on the gift tag. Put a
the guests name on a holiday ornament, attach greenery.
a wedding or baby shower, use small watering cans with the
name on a plant ID stake placed in the can.
fabric at a fabric store to overlay a plain cloth i.e. Indian
sari, colorful organza, crumpled red velvet, trimmed with
greenery from your garden.
food items that have sauce and will hold well over time in
of a whole salmon, display individual salmon filets drizzled
with dill sauce squeezed from a plastic tipped squeeze bottle
and garnished with cut lemons.
expensive items i.e. caviar at the end of the table, where
they are served by an attendant on buckwheat blinis with melted
butter. For a different and delicious presentation, serve
the caviar on potato chips (heaped in a silver bowl and served
with a white-gloved waiter) with dollops of sour cream or
crème fraiche. Placing a dab of caviar on a dollop of sour
cream or crème fraiche on a tiny boiled and halved small potato
also makes a fine hors d'oeuvre. Remember that the enemies
of caviar are heat and air.
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