Most everyone loves a party, but someone has to host it. Why not you? Yet unless we’re in the habit of giving parties, the idea can be a bit intimidating. Who shall we invite? Who’s likely to come, who not? What shall we serve? Are we up to making tasty foods that guests will enjoy? How much will it cost?
Remember that most of us don’t perform a picky analysis of food and guests the next day. So we needn’t worry that others will when we are the hosts. If you know for sure that your friends will be critical of your efforts, then you need new friends. But at the same time, you will want to honor everyone with tasty food and wine.
So let’s do it! The holidays are here, and you can easily feed a lot more people in your own home than it costs for two to dine in a good restaurant. If you give a party, I’m a firm believer that you’re entitled to have fun along with everyone else. So my mantra for preparing food, actually for any reason, is “keep it simple.” Most of us don’t have the time, skills, or inclination for complication. We’re not caterers after all. We’re simply humans who want to gather with our clans to celebrate our existence. And besides, culinary complication doesn’t produce more flavor or fun.
Party food can be as simple as platters of cheeses and cold cuts, bowls of olives, a basket of freshly baked bread, a bowl of tangerines, and given the season, holiday cookies and sparkling wine. Your local market will be your one-stop shop if your budget is limited. If it isn’t, the expense of all these foods can be amped up with their quality, and you can find the best at specialty shops.
Regarding quantity, if you set the arrival hour at six, which is roughly the dinner hour, your guests will be famished, so you’ll need to provide more food. If you set party time at 8 o’clock, they probably will have eaten something before arriving and will be less hungry. Regarding wine, the guideline is that a 750 ml bottle of wine contains five glasses, and over a four hour period, you can expect most people to drink three glasses of wine. Some will drink more (we hope not a lot more), and some won’t drink at all. So provide at least mineral water and maybe sparkling cider. Finally, add flowers to the table, turn on the stereo, and wait for guests to arrive.
If you want a more elaborate menu, consider the one in this newsletter, which is still simple. And if you have the time and resources for an even more elaborate one, great! But it’s not necessary. The point of the season is to get together and love one another. We at Celebrations Wine club love you and wish you Happy Holidays!