Entertain…and having fun while doing it! 

The whole entertaining thing doesn’t have to conjure up images of hours upon hours in the kitchen, stressed out for days, trying to find ingredients you’ve never heard of and crossing fingers that last minute preparations will yield pleasant results. I have learned over the years that stressing over a large menu of complicated preparations is always a bad idea. I now follow the “less is more” theory by choosing items that are simple to prepare, can be done ahead of time for the most part. For quick and stress-free menu items I often take old favorites and add a new twist to freshen it up. Some items may not even require preparations, but more so assembly, like a cheese platter. A few olives, honey, toasted almonds and dried fruit, alongside some nice cheese and crackers and you are done. The bottom line is… leave as little preparation for last minute as possible. Plan your menu with this in mind! I also invite each of my guests to bring one dish they would like to share… taking even more stress off my shoulders. After all a table of food prepared by a variety of people is always exciting to see and enjoy and it even inspires more conversation.  

For further inspiration, consider foods that were part of your families’ traditions or from your parents when you were a child. Christmas sweets have fond memories for me. I remember sneaking a single piece of Almond Roca each and every night from the freezer for the three weeks leading up to Christmas, needless to say leaving none for entertaining. I was also known to eat way too much shortbread regardless of how hard my mom tried to outwit me with her hiding spots. 

When we entertain, each person in our family takes part in putting it all together. As a family effort, the food gets organized and set up for the final last minute preparations. And of course we all fight for the stereo with what each of us thinks is suitable music. This is the part of entertaining that should be enjoyable!  

For a number of years at divine, we offered a popular cooking class called “Christmas Entertaining”. We would create a selection of unique and fun appetizer ideas aimed at arming our participants with new, inspiring entertaining possibilities without requiring hours of preparation. Within each class menu we set out to cover many bases to satisfy many tastes and occasions. Our goal was always to showcase items that were outside the box and unique that would be sure to be the highlight at the next soirée.  

So this Christmas season remember to keep it simple, plan a menu you are familiar with and allow yourself freedom by having most of the preparation done before your guests arrive. Remember that little can go wrong simply because it’s about the combination of conversation, food and laughter. 

Happy Entertaining! 

 

 

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