Fine, so maybe entertaining is not nearly as difficult as pregnancy, but there are certainly some things to know before you dive in head first. The facts: Your friends are counting on you for a delicious meal. You want to impress. With these tips, you’ll be good to go next time you host a dinner party, a brunch or anything in between.
When in doubt, make more
The last thing you want is for your guests to leave hungry. Unless you’re cooking for a bunch of anorexic friends. But then I guess you wouldn’t be cooking at all.
Anyway, cooking more doesn’t have to mean spending more. The key is to think in terms of staple foods, like pasta, rice or a big ‘ol loaf of bread. A box of pasta usually costs less than $2, can feed four hungry people and blends in with almost any meal. And the simplest way to dress it up? A little butter, a little parmesan cheese, and a few fresh herbs. So simple yet so delicious. And for those of you who are carb-conscious, a bag of frozen vegetables can more than do.
Don’t worry, I’m not trying to turn my food column into a sex column; that would not be pretty. But both in food and in bed, size does matter, especially when it comes to portions.
If you’re hosting a sit-down dinner, it’s easy to control how much you’ll serve to each guest. However, not many posh undergrads throw lavish parties like that. Chances are that you’re going the buffet route, and budgeting for how much food your guests will take can be tricky.
The key: Always make it seem like you have more than you actually do.
For example, say you make chicken for your guests. If you served the chicken breasts whole, you might buy one cutlet per person. However, if you slice each chicken breast into one-inch pieces before serving, your friends will probably only take a few slices rather than an entire breast. And that means a lot more bang for you buck. Nicely done!
When the boys are coming, salad just won’t cut it
This one I learned the hard way. I invited my boyfriend over for dinner and I decided to make a vegetarian stew. The first thing he said when he saw it was, “That’s it?” Yeah. Don’t let that happen to you. And that’s why I feel this is a necessary tip to share.
With the girls, a colorful salad, a few bottles of wine and a light dessert will be just perfect. When it comes to boys, unless there’s an entire chicken nestled among those leafy greens, you’re bound to get some snide comments. They’re expecting a hearty meal that will fill them up as much as a dining hall trip.
The key: Some form of protein is a must. And in large quantities. You’ll be amazed at how much guys can eat.
So ladies and gents, with these tips in mind, you are sure to become an entertaining rock star. But don’t let the word spread too much — unless you want to be feeding a hungry army of students. Happy entertaining!