When Ina Garten throws a party, you know it is going to be perfect. From the food to the understated tablescape and cocktails, Garten plans and executes her arrangements like few others can. What's her secret? The Barefoot Contessa shared on her website that she likes to make "a game plan" which she knows she can successfully execute. This plan includes what foods she will cook and how she will serve them.
Garten revealed that she likes to have a variety of noshing options, not just for her guests, but for the ease of herself as the host. This means not everything is baked, not everything is cold, and some items are made long before guests cross her home's threshold. She likes to have, "...something served at room temperature, some things in the oven, some on top of the stove, and hopefully a few dishes that I can assemble in advance so I'm not in a full sweat when my friends arrive!" Easier said than done? Garten is a pro at both the intimate and lavish gathering; however, her strategy is worth leaning into.
Stick With What You Know
There's a method to her planning. First, a dinner party is about spending time together, so if you are stuck in the kitchen the whole evening, that's not going to be fun for you and your guests. Following Garten's guidance, if you have a one-pot dinner-party dish cooking in the oven, like her skillet roasted lemon-chicken, you can focus on your guests, and maybe just one or two other items that need preparing. That alleviates the stress of something burning or not cooking properly because you have too many things to think about, and allows you to be with your guests. But how does Garten go about deciding what she is going to make?
The cookbook author has shared that she starts planning her menu based on her guests. She asks them about their food preferences and goes from there to prepare something that will be tasty for everyone. But she still keeps things simple. Garten explained she only makes a couple of the food items she is serving and will buy or pre-assemble the rest. Dinner parties are not the time to try a recipe for the first time. Garten is a big believer in sticking with recipes you know well and that do not take too much time to prepare.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.