When I entertain I want everything just so. With a full-time job, traffic, and an active 9 month old, that's not always possible. Here's how I make hosting stress free (or less stressful).
I forget which television shows have had a hostess opening her door to receive delivery and then feverishly plating the contents and disposing of the containers. I know there have been a few. While you laugh at the time, part of you thinks what a clever idea.
Gates caught a cold over Christmas, which I promptly went on to catch as well. Why am I telling you this? Because I'd planned to host a pot luck New Year's Eve dinner at our house, with me cooking the main course. Rather than cancel the evening, I mean, heck, New Year's Eve only comes once a year, I served take out.
I didn't hide the changed menu from my guests, that was the one part of the television show scenario that didn't sit right with me, I told them. So on New Year's Eve with Gates ensconced in her Ergo, we stopped by Lucca Ravioli Company and picked up three-bean salad, a plethora of Italian deli meat and French Basque and Spanish cheeses, fresh pasta, and a quart of meat sauce.
I knew the antipasto course was a hit when one guest was carefully creating what she thought was the perfect bite and what might have just made her 2012. High praise indeed for a last minute hostessing Hail Mary Pass.
What are your secrets to stress-free entertaining?
Starting this month, I'm introducing a new monthly series, Effortless Entertaining, published the third Wednesday of each month, with tips for planning an experience and recipes for stress-free (or minimal stress) cooking so that you'll spend more time with guests and less time in the kitchen. I hope you enjoy it.