|Home | Issues | The Daily Star Home | Volume 4, Issue 42, Tuesday October 30 , 2007|
- 10.30 pm for dinner.
Photo: Dhaka Sheraton Hotel
After a month of self-restraint and abstinence from worldly activities, and with the arrival of autumn, it's time to throw a party and celebrate! Here are some tips on planning and serving, along with a simple party canapé recipe to get you started.
Planning the menu:
The starting point should be a shopping list that should include seasonal produces, fruits and vegetables, which are readily available and fresh for the occasion. Consider your kitchen space and equipment. Check if you have got enough cooking pots and pans as well as china, serving dishes, cutlery and glassware. Make sure your dining table is big enough to accommodate all your required serving bowls and dishes.
Make it a point to balance the menu to avoid making it too spicy/rich or too bland. Keep in mind health factors and dietary restrictions. Some guests may be prohibited from eating certain foods on religious grounds or health reasons. In case of any doubt, it is a good idea to ask your guests, as it gives them due importance. Keep in mind whether or not you expect any walk-in guests other than those you have invited. There should be enough food to avoid any embarrassment.
A “hit” menu will combine different colours, textures and flavours, yet maintain a single “theme” throughout. If you plan on having deshi and mughlai side by side, my suggestion would be to have a complete menu for both cuisines. A deshi menu would thus consist of plain rice, a few bhortas, lentil, fish and meat, to cover all courses. Likewise, a mughlai menu would have, along with biryani or morogh polao, salad, shami kebab, and roast chicken. Two different menus or “themes” are often appropriate when inviting both adults and children. In such cases, each theme should be arranged at opposite ends of the table.
Avoid last minute cooking. A strong suggestion would be not to include fried fish as this requires frying immediately prior to serving, which means a last minute rush, in addition to making your whole house smell of fish! If you are short on time, be prepared to compromise. Buy some 'prepared' foods, maybe one or two items that will easily blend in with your theme.
The most important thing is not to get over-ambitious. This will become unnecessarily stressful and you will not enjoy your own party, and in the worst case, the party itself may turn into a disaster!
Serving the food:
Make sure you clean the edges of serving dishes before you set them on the table. It is visually important that the food nearly fills the dish. On the other hand, you should not fill a dish so much that food spills over the edges when guests serve themselves.
There is no better way to get a party off to a start than by serving dazzling arrays of hot and cold canapés (mini open-face sandwiches) and hors d'oeuvres (micro finger foods) loaded with colours and flavours.
Simple party canapes
1. To garnish: use hard-boiled egg whites previously set aside (diced); small whole shrimps; sliced stuffed green olives; cut-up pickled cucumber; small onions.
3. To thaw: remove canapés from freezer one hour before serving, place in a single layer, let stand at room temperature.
Tips for a great party
Who does not love a party? A party is a wonderful way to pass some fabulous time with great food, great music and great company. One can also make new acquaintances and friends. To make a memorable party, both the host and the guest should work together. So before throwing a party or stepping into one, go through the following tips which will help you to become a perfect host or a guest and will make your party a perfect one for you to remember for years to come.
Tips for the host
Always invite people two to three weeks in advance and make sure they let you know whether they can make it or not. Do not forget to remind them of the party a day before. You can do that with the help of text message. If the venue is hard to find, include a map and if possible a note about parking.
Furthermore, it is by no means a virtue to disregard punctuality. To avoid the carelessness of people regarding party time, put the start and finish time on the invitation. That way everyone knows when you are going to serve food.
A smiling host welcoming the guests personally is the sign of a great party. If the guests do not know each other, introduce them individually.
Once the party is in full swing, you can expect yourself to be on the go continuously. You can even engage one of the guests to help you. Many shy people often find parties easier if they have a role to play and keep themselves busy. A relaxed host is an absolute must. Do not panic if anything goes wrong and do not get stuck in the kitchen. You should never let the cooking distract you from your party.
If it is an informal party with friends, colleagues or relatives you can arrange some music to soothe your guests. But do not play loud music.
Tips for the guest
Brief yourself: think ahead about possible conversation points. You do not have to be an expert, though it helps if you have read the morning newspaper.
Keep a mental list of opening lines such as “How do you know our host?” Or you can start the conversation by complimentary remarks such as: “Nice sari” or “I love that tie.” Party small talk does not have to be clever.
Do not talk about your troubles or diseases. Social occasions are not an opportunity to offload the minor irritations of the day.
Never ask a professional for a free consultation and also never try to do business at a party. If you are too interested, you can exchange cards or phone numbers.
Try to avoid describing yourself as “just a homemaker” or “I am not doing anything.” People do not know how to react. It's much better to talk about your current interests.
Last but not the least, you must send a thank-you note. This is not just a way of showing good sense and appreciation
By Marzia Rahman
The last issue of Star Lifestyle, Volume 7, Issue 9, Tuesday 23, 2007 featured a news flash on the Launch of Rediamond executive fashion shoes from Bata. Regretfully, the illustrated image was not of the same brand as the news. We sincerely apologize for the error.
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