5 TIPS FOR STRESS-FREE HOSTING
1. Write a menu and stick to it. Several weeks before, plan the menu. Adding dishes later will only add stress, so stick to the plan, stay organized and serve only what you can realistically handle making. Order any big items (like the turkey) in advance.
Keep it simple. No need to add the whole spice drawer for a great meal. The key is to buy fresh, organic ingredients and splurge a little with staples like olive oil, fresh herbs and flaky sea salt.
3. Write lists, lots of them. Look over your menu and write a shopping list. It may seem fastidious, but organizing your list by department will ensure you won’t zigzag all over the supermarket. Write a chronological list for all the do-ahead cooking tasks you can complete in the days leading up to the party. Write a final big-day timeline so you can have everything ready in time, even when you’re distracted with a house full of guests.
4. Work ahead. Each recipe here includes do-ahead instructions, so you can break the cooking into simple tasks done days in advance. It’s also wise to prep your space the night before – set the table, prepare serving dishes and set up a bar area with glasses and a wine opener.
5. Delegate and cheat. Assign a family member to bring a dessert, ask a friend to bring one of the side dishes and delegate a bartender to pour drinks. And you don’t have to make everything from scratch! An artfully arranged platter of sliced pears, toasted nuts and one special cheese makes an elegant appetizer. Buy precut vegetables from the produce department to save time. In short, make it easy on yourself – it’s your holiday, too!