The pressure is on to start this blog, so I figured the best place to start would be with planning a menu. I remember how the planning for big family meals involved lists of ideas, stacks of recipes, and sometimes test runs before the event. It makes a difference in the long run, if I have taken the time to concentrate on how the food will be plated, and how it will be accepted by my guests.
My mom always writes her ideas down on a piece of paper- she often times has a longer list than what we actually eat- I think I inherited that trait from her- our plans take longer than the time we have to prepare. Our Easter and Thanksgiving meals are held at my Aunt Christy's house and our menu plans are sent via email. The usual favorites are listed and there are spaces left for new introductions. My Grandmother would also plan menus in advance. She like my mom would write notes on paper and then call all invited to make suggestions based on their ability and specialties. I guess I do some of all of the above. If I host pot luck dinners, I send emails to guests who have asked to bring items. For small dinners, I take one idea and then invite the guests. Then I can spend the time leading up to the dinner planning the other components. For bigger meals, I like to take inspiration from blogs, food network, and websites that make me want to make a certain thing. If there is time, I like to plan the accompaniments so that if I haven't made them before I can test them. I know everyone says never to prepare something for guests that you have never prepared, but I do it more frequently than not. Luckily, I don't think I have had too many issues with mishaps or maybe I have erased them from my memory. None the less, I find that menu planning helps fuel the excitement of the event. It helps me organize for shopping, scheduling the cooking time, and gives me the inspiration for the table setting.