no formal settings or seating arrangements to fret about, your
hosting duties at buffet stand-up luncheons can be fun and relaxed...as
you let your guests help themselves!
But do the words "easy" and "buffet" always go together? There are factors to consider when planning a casual luncheon that beginners may not realize -- such as what food to serve, or where to place everything that allows a free flow of party traffic.
Keep the following tips in mind for an easy buffet lunch that
can be enjoyed by everyone - as your guests happily mix and mingle
with drinks and plates in hand:
food your guests don't have to cut, or handle. Even small snacks
like chicken wings can be a big challenge to negotiate using
one hand. If you are serving chicken try using the breast and
cutting it into bite size pieces. Small precut sandwich triangles
are a great idea. Small frozen hor d'oeuvres can be picked up
at warehouse supermarkets like Sam's or CostCo - they taste
good and are so easy to prepare and to eat one handed!
can pose a problem. Tomatoes, olives or grapes roll off plates
and on to the floor (or your just-cleaned carpet). If you happen
to forget and serve your prize-winning Swedish meatballs, remember
that toothpicks will keep any 'rollable' food stationary...and
with pretty cellophane ends they add a festive touch to the
Easy buffet step-by-step:
Make it easy on guests by serve bite-sized appetizers that can fit on a cracker or that can be held
together with a toothpick (left). If serving hot food, play it safe by keeping paper napkins and plates
away from sterno heaters (middle). And, don't skimp on serving dishes! Buy sturdy paper
(not plastic) plates that can withstand any buffet dish placed on it without wilting. (right).
guests coming back for more, the serving tables should be clear
of chairs or any other tables that may tempt guests to linger...or
block their path to the food. Extra napkins, plates, glasses
and cutlery should be near the food. As guests wander they tend
to lose plates and implements. A good safety tip: keep sternos
or other open flame used to heat food away from anything ignitable,
like paper plates and napkins!
rule of a successful buffet luncheon is DON'T skimp and buy
a gross of flimsy paper plates. Sturdy paper plates are worth
the extra expense - as you'll soon realize when your guests
begin to pile the food on with gusto. For this reason, it's
always best to provide small and sturdy paper plates or in a pinch go for
the more reliable plastic version. Don't worry about the smaller
plates if you choose to use them. Smaller portions are very
'in' with diets on everyone's mind. Guests who are still hungry
can always go back for seconds.
when serving finger foods you can definitely skimp on the price
of napkins and buy the super-economy pack. Just as long as you
have lots of them. Place them in nice baskets around the eating
area and no one will suspect they were a bargain.