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Episode 6082: Entertaining 101
Party Food
No double dipping!

If there’s one thing that everyone loves about a party it’s the food, and it's a good idea to consider different options for when you plan a party at home. There are basically three types of food settings: a cocktail reception, a formal dinner and family style. Here are some tips on creating each with ease.

For a cocktail reception, I prefer an hors d’oeuvre platter. Shrimp, tiny quail eggs with caviar, smoked salmon, vegetable bundles and a well-placed flower make for a tantalizing presentation. Don’t forget tiny bowls filled with dipping sauces and some fresh fruit garnish. Place platters down onto occasional tables, allowing guests to indulge as they wish. Plan on five hors d’oeuvres per guest per hour of a cocktail reception.

In planning a formal dinner, you can choose a plated service. This is where you remove the dinner plate from the perfectly set table, take it into the kitchen for assembly and then present the guest a completed dish. This is the best to really show off your culinary expertise. Bear in mind that you are taking a chance in presuming how much each guest feels like eating; try to make each plate identically portioned.

Family style involves placing all of the main dishes on serving platters and bowls and presenting them to your guests. Make sure to only dress a salad at the very last minute.

You can also do the dinner party buffet style, which is similar family style. The main difference being that the food is placed onto a station, allowing guests to serve themselves.