domenica 13 aprile 2008

Perfect Party Planning

The release of Maria Liberati’s newest book is just weeks away! Once you get your copy you will definitely want to invite some guests over to show off your impressive cooking skills, so it might be a good idea for us to talk about planning the perfect party. By following some basic tips, you can ensure that your event will come together seamlessly (without stressing you out!).

• Plan ahead! Send out your invitations two weeks in advance, if possible. Make a list of what you intend to serve and what ingredients are required to prepare it. Try to have your guests RSVP so that you can get only the amount of food that you need, so you don’t waste a lot of money by having tons of extra food. Buy all the ingredients a few days in advance. Not too soon that they won’t be fresh, but soon enough that you aren’t worried about finding time to shop the day of the event!

• Prepare carefully, and with patience! Before beginning to cook, place any table settings or decorations, arrange the furniture, and get all the logistics in order. Once you start cooking, having something else hanging over your head left to do will just frazzle you more.

• Plan out how long it will take you to cook each item on the menu. Are there dishes that require the use of the oven at the same time? Do your dishes all have different cooking and preparation times? If you are having a lot of different things, try to get someone to help you. But try to have a starting point – start with the item that takes the longest to prepare, has the most steps or the longest cooking time. Make items that can be served slightly cooler first, and those that are best served fresh from the oven last. But, whatever you do, don’t rush! Rushing causes kitchen disasters, and possibly non-edible food!

• Try to have everything in the oven, or at least ready to go into the oven, before your guests arrive. Stepping out for a minute to remove something from the oven isn’t a big deal, but stepping out to take another half hour to finish preparing can make you look unorganized.

I know that all of you readers, as Italian cooking enthusiasts, must have tons of experience in planning fabulous get-togethers, since truly enjoying fine Italian cooking involves enjoying the social company of others while you enjoy the food. So, share with us your best tips on planning the perfect, no-stress party!

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