Summer has barely begun, and I’m guessing you have already been to a number of barbecues, cookouts and potlucks. We humans sure love summer entertaining! Gathering with family and friends to gobble down good food, share stories, splash in the pool and soak in the sun is what we live for all winter long. But as we know, throwing a successful summer party is no easy task. There’s a lot to prepare, and a lot to handle once it’s over.
I’m going to address three key issues and offer up some solutions for making your barbeque or potluck easier and better than ever:
1. Having enough food – you want to make sure there’s enough for everyone, but chances are your schedule doesn’t allow enough time. If you don’t have the time or energy to start cooking the night before, feel free to ask your guests to contribute. Most people have a “signature dish”. Ask them to bring that; and for those who don’t, have them bring beverages or paper products. Just make sure they clear it with you ahead of time, so you don’t end up with ten side dishes and no entrées.
2. Leftovers – this happens almost always! If you don’t want to be stuck with all of the leftover food there are two things you can do. One, ask your guests to bring a container for themselves. Most guests will be thrilled to take home an assortment of food, but you don’t want to give away all your containers (trust me, you’ll never get them back). Two, get some plastic food containers that are specifically for this event. I assure you, they’re cheaper than ever these days, and you can even get them at your local dollar store.
3. Clean Up Karma – clean up time is the most dreaded part of throwing a party, for all of us. There isn’t a lot you can do to avoid this, it’s inevitable with every party. And of course, if you ask your guests to help, you’ll feel like a bad host or hostess. But here’s what you can do: when going to a party thrown by someone else in your family or circle of friends, be the helpful one. Give them a hand, and I can guarantee you that when it’s your party, at least one person will remember how helpful you were and return the favor. Think of it like an investment!
Remember, summer entertaining is all about having fun and making memories. Everything has a solution, so don’t let one of these issues stop you from making it happen!