Choosing the right menu for a special event can be just as important as choosing a location. Food can communicate a theme, convey a feeling or set the mood of an entire night. If you are planning a high-class extravaganza, hot dogs and beer might not be appropriate. However, they might be the perfect choice for a birthday party at the lake. Taking great care in planning a menu shows your guests how much you appreciate them, and a great meal can help make a special day even more memorable.
If you are planning a birthday party for your child, an interactive meal can be a fun activity for your guests. Rather than slaving away in the kitchen all day or spending countless dollars ordering pizzas, you can save time and money by letting the guests make their own special creations. One fun idea is to prepare a multitude of toppings and let the children make their own bagel or English muffin pizzas. They will have a blast piling on strange combinations of toppings, and they will enjoy feeling like grown-ups in the kitchen.
For a more formal occasion like a holiday party, finger foods can be great for mingling guests, and they can be great topics of conversation. The obligatory finger sandwich can be spiced up by adding your own special pesto or cheese spread to an already tried and true recipe. Experiment with different ingredients in the weeks prior to the party, and test them out on your family. You will know when you get the reaction you are looking for, and you might end up spending much of the party writing down your recipe for your guests.
Planning a menu for a wedding can be quite stressful, especially when you are not sure exactly how many guests will be attending. The rule of thumb is that too much is better than not enough, even if it means having a lot of food left over at the end of the night. You can choose to have a buffet-style dinner, or you can have a set menu for your guests. It is important to consider your guests with special dietary needs. You should have vegetarian and low-sodium alternatives to your main courses, and you should have a heart-healthy menu for those who must avoid foods with high fat contents.
Before attempting a large-scale meal, you should make all of the dishes several times to perfect your recipes. Your goal is to have guests asking for more even after it all runs out. Test your creations on a variety of people and make adjustments according to their suggestions. When cooking food from your own recipes, it is important to remember the details of what you did every time you make it. That way you will know what went wrong when something turns out horrible, and more importantly what went right when you receive raving reviews.
Planning portions is the most important part of catering your own party. Though most recipes tell you how many people they will feed, it is best to err on the side of caution. If a recipe feeds eight, you might want to count it as six or seven, depending on how many guests you expect. Plan that half of your guests will want to go back for seconds. If you know that one dish will be a favorite, be sure to make extra. Though the green beans may be the healthier option, you can usually bet that the cheesecake will go a lot quicker. Keep in mind that the greater the variety, the more people you will please, so even if you are a steamed vegetable lover, you should probably prepare some beefy options for your less than health conscious guests.