From homebody to hostess in 4 easy steps
Come along, cupcake (get it? Hostess cupcake?) – it’s time to change gears and turn on the charm because we (well, you) are going to put on a party, and it’s going to be a humdinger of a good time. There is no need to be anxious because we’ve got some basic steps to ensure your party is going to be a great success!
Step one: start inviting one and all
It’s a common expectation that at least one in four of your guests will decline or not show, so invite a few extra people to make up for the gaps. You want your home to be lively with plenty of people, and of course, that means plenty of hostess gifts, so that’s a plus.
Step two: plan for plenty of food
Even if it’s a potluck, you must account for those non-cooks who will either arrive empty-handed, or you’re too polite to tell them that they cannot cook worth a lick.
First of all, I suggest delegating something store-bought for these people, like sodas, extra ice, or plastic forks and napkins. You know what I’m talking about. You would do the world a favor by arranging for a door prize of Spicy Chicks dessert mixes so they can be a respectable contributor on their next visit. Give them two things to try, like New York Cheesecake as a standard favorite and Pumpkin, because it’s fall….and Pumpkin.
Next, you need a small collection of dips to go with chips, crusty bread, and veggies unless you have the gal who introduced you to Spicy Chicks dips in the first place, and you know she’s good for something fabulous. Just in case, we recommend something for each type of guest:
- The men will love Bacon Ranch or Buffalo Blue
- The ladies will be delighted by Cucumber Dill and Asiago Artichoke
- Dazzle the foodies with Portabella & Artichoke or Lobster Bisque
If you’re lucky, you invited some fabulous cooks to bring the entrees, or that’s how I plan it. I also recommend a Roasted Garlic & Herb olive oil blend and fresh crusty bread to go along with those culinary delights. Because I’m Southern, I cook three times more food than I estimate that I’ll need. It’s the polite thing to do.
If your plans fail for entrees, keep some chicken legs and thighs handy and sacrifice your olive oil blend, dunk some chicken legs and thighs with a dash of balsamic vinegar and throw them on the grill. If everything goes smoothly, chicken dinner is thawed and ready for tomorrow. Your guests can wait as they cook because there are plenty of dips to keep them grazing.
Step three: social graces
Now that we have some food on your mind let’s move on to your social graces.
In the South, we have two of our favorite types of guests: Early guests come to help you scramble to get everything ready and those who stay late to help you clean up. Be gracious and welcome all of that assistance! For those early arrivals, get them started mixing those dips for you or cutting carrots. Have some plastic bowls for those who stay late, for they will be earning their doggie bags that night.
Keep conversations to two minutes until you have mingled with every one of your party guests. Carrying food always gets people’s attention, so have a few friends with trays to help out, too.
Look for your wallflowers and newcomers and make introductions to those who might share common interests. It is perfectly acceptable to interrupt if you are making introductions. Introducing a new person to a duo who know each other creates a camaraderie faster.
You are allowed to hold your phone in your pocket for 30 minutes to field calls from latecomers or people who are lost. After that, stash it away and do not look at it again. You are in party mode, and your phone is reserved for snapping photos. All other calls are for condolences of those who aren’t coming, and they can go to voice mail.
Step four: Don’t sweat the small stuff
Accept right now that your party won’t be perfect, but you’re going to roll with it and have a good time. Anything that goes wrong will be a great story at the next party, and white wine takes red wine out of the carpet and sofa (just so you know). What I can promise you, is that every time you bring Spicy Chicks Gourmet to a party, it’s going to be a hit.