Episode 23: 10 Tips for Large Family Gatherings

 In General, Podcast

Large family gatherings can be lots of fun, but they can also be a lot of work. Here are 10 tips to help you plan and enjoy large family gatherings.

1-Think about the time of day and menu.

-Do you want a lunch, brunch, or evening gathering. Are there little kids that need afternoon naps?

-Plan your menu and let people bring some of the food.

-Avoid saying “bring whatever you want.” You will end up with just desserts and wine.

-Consider the person when asking for specific items. Do they like to cook? Do they arrive on time (if they tend to run late, don’t ask them to bring drinks.)

2- Think about your oven and refrigerator space.

                -Do you have enough space to hold and cook the food? If you don’t, ask someone to help you. My mother is baking casseroles for Easter brunch because she has 2 ovens. I am making this Breakfast Casserole for Easter. You may also like this Breakfast Bake.

3- Make ahead as much as possible.

                -Anything you can make ahead will save your sanity the day of the gathering. I make my caramel rolls the day before and bake them early in the morning long before guests arrive.

                -If you can do at least part of the prep ahead of time that can help.

4- Don’t forget about food safety.

                -Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.

                -Pewter serving dishes can help keep foods at proper temperature or use ice packs or hot pads.

                -Refrigerate foods as soon as possible after serving.

                –This podcast talks about food safety.

5- Be ready to deal with leftovers.

                -Save disposable containers to send home with guests.

                -Use zip bags and be sure to label them before you put in the food.

                -Put each family’s leftovers in a separate bag in the refrigerator so they can easily take it home when they leave.

6- Consider your seating.

                -Will you all be in one room or at one table or are you spread out to the outdoors and different rooms?

                -Make sure there are some extra seats so people can sit where they choose.

                -Have a backup ready if you plan on outdoor seating.

7-Consider the timing and pace of the meal.

                -Do you want to have a leisurely start with appetizers or snacks and then move into the main meal?

                -Do you want to feed the kids as soon as possible and have a leisurely end to the gathering?

                -Have drinks ready as soon as guests arrive.

8-Think dishes and utensils.

                -Choose your serving platters and dishes ahead of time.

                -Make sure you have extra serving utensils for the dishes people are bringing.

                -Are you going to use your china or plastic and paper plates. What silverware are you going to use?

                -Where are you placing the plates and silverware? I suggest putting the plates at the front of the buffet and the napkins and silverware at the end so it is easier for people to handle their plates.

9- Think about cleanup before guests arrive.

                -Place your trash can in an easy to find spot. Make sure it is empty and have an extra trash bag at the bottom of the can.

                -Start with an empty dishwasher.

                -Have a place on the counter for people to bring their used dishes.

                -Fill the sink with soapy water to soak dishes.

                -Have towels and dishrags ready for people to help you clean up and let them help you.

10- Enjoy yourself.

-Be sure to sit down and eat your meal.

-Let the pace be slow so you can enjoy the event.

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