Thursday, July 7, 2016

Hosting a small group

I love to host a dinner party and our large Christmas open house, but I also love having just a few people over for a casual get together.  Last night I hosted our book club.  Each of us host once a year and when we do we serve some casual snacks and drinks.

Here are some tips for hosting a small group:

Keep the food simple.  I have found that people tend to eat less than you think they will.  When people come for book club, they have usually just eaten dinner so nobody is looking for a large meal. I like to make one savoury dish and one sweet thing with some fruit on the side.  I try to be conscious of dietary restrictions like dairy and gluten, and have some options available, although I know it is impossible to make everything gluten and dairy free.

This time I made this recipe for a mozzarella and tomato appetizer.

I also made these cookies and served some strawberries and mango on the side.

Offer a few different drinks, but again, keep it simple.  I bought a couple of bottles of wine and made a pitcher of fizzy lemonade.  This is another instance where people tend to consume less than you think they will.  Not that wine ever goes to waste in this house, but it's a consideration.

Provide some nice things to eat with.  People want to feel comfortable to take lots of food and not make a mess.  I have these nice plates and cocktail napkins from Crate and Barrel that always work well for a small group.

Make sure there are places to put drinks and plates down.  We have some nice trays that we can use on our ottoman and couches, and a few table surfaces.  The piano bench also works as a makeshift table.

Plan ahead and set everything out before guests arrive.  Since it is a small group and they aren't there for a long time, your absence will be felt, so you don't want to be in the kitchen the whole time.

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