I started to write a story about the importance to be prepared for stress-free entertaining when I spotted the 15-minute Party Plan on the November issue of Canadian House & Home.
Their article summarized my thoughts but they forgot to mention a well-stocked bar. What you need is to:
- Keep a well-stocked pantry
- Keep several bottles of red and white wines. If you are fancier, add a bottle of vodka, gin and scotch. My bar feels empty without sweet and dry vermouth.
- Assemble a mix and match of white casual chic tableware
- Reduce the glassware costs by owning 20-24 everyday tumblers – they can be used as wine glasses
- Keep an assortment of dinner napkins and cocktails napkins with a few sets of colorful table runners and neutral tablecloths
This way you will be ready for improvised parties.
So next time you pass by a fine grocery store, stock a few jars of jelly, olives, an assortment of savory cookies, dried fruits and nuts. Stash in your fridge packages of smoked salmon, pates, terrines and a few cheeses. I would add limes and lemons.
Then, whenever you have guests over, you simply need to set up the buffet table. Remember that food served in ample containers looks more luxurious. Once in a while try the unexpected. For example, clear glass flower vases transform well in food containers.
What do you keep in your pantry for unexpected events?
+ Photography by Michael Alberstat for Canadian House & Home November 2008 – rights reserved