Cooking for a Large Group, Part 1, by Peter Kuperman

By Peter Kuperman

I am passionate about gourmet cooking and enjoy preparing meals for my friends and family. Recently, many of my friends and associates have asked me questions concerning cooking for large gatherings of people. The following tips comprise some of the practices I employ for such occasions.

1. Take Suggestions from Your Guest While I keep a record of my personal favorite recipes, some occasions, such as birthdays, lend themselves to cooking the guest of honor’s favorite meal. Contact the person in advance and find out what he or she would like you to make. Then, either look for a recipe, use one of your own, or ask for a recipe that your guest of honor prefers.

2. Keep the Menu Simple Unless your impending gathering is scheduled for a momentous occasion, such as a holiday feast or graduation party, consider keeping your menu simple. Pick an appetizer, entrée, and two or more side dishes that you are comfortable preparing and serve them in greater quantities.

3. Write a Schedule What will your impending cooking fest entail? At a minimum, you should write down the following: *Ingredients. *Extra supplies, such as utensils you do not own. *Time needed to prepare each meal. Remember to multiply serving sizes and cooking times appropriately. *The days and times you plan to complete errands such as shopping, cooking, and other considerations. Tack your schedule somewhere visible in your work area, such as on the refrigerator or above the stove. Check off items as you complete them for a tangible feeling of accomplishment that will help you breathe easier as the time of the gathering approaches.

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Cooking for a Large Group, Part 2, by Peter Kuperman

By Peter Kuperman

My advice for preparing food for crowds concludes with several more tips that have served me well in my own gourmet cooking events.

4. Mind the Presentation As you cook, consider the type of function for which you are preparing food. Will the event be a formal dinner? A buffet? A come and go as you please get-together? Your food should complement the occasion, as well as your presentation of the delectable delights. For example, formal occasions call for props such as name tags, candles, flowers, and ornate serving dishes. As the chef, you might not need to worry about making arrangements outside of your food, but you should give thought to how you lay out your meal, serve it, and so forth.

5. Prepare to Cook Bigger gatherings mean more ingredients. Prepare your shopping list, then clear out space in your fridge to make room for perishable items. You should also check the conditions of all the pots, pans, and other accessories you plan to use. Take care of these preparations before you head to the supermarket so you can immediately store ingredients and begin cooking as soon as possible.

6. Serve Neutral Drinks Remember, your guests will need something to wash down your edibles. The type of drinks you serve should match the food and occasion: punch and soda for informal gatherings, wine at more reserved occasions.

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