When life is busy and schedules are jammed, it’s all too easy to decide you can’t possibly have people over for a meal. But, it can be easier than you think, especially when you get everyone involved. We sat down with food author Dani Valent, to get her tips on planning a smooth, stress-free event. Happy memories and strong relationships are forged when you gather with friends and loved ones and allow time to enjoy one another’s company. It’s important to carve out time for these occasions. While the weather is still warm and the days are long, there’s nothing better or easier than throwing a barbecue. Here are some tips to make it as smooth, fun, and delicious as possible.
1. Devise a plan.
Will you be catering the whole shebang? If so, you’ll want to make some dishes ahead of the day. Otherwise, take advantage of the help when your guests ask you what to bring. I usually ask people to bring their own meat or vegetables for the barbecue, and I handle dips, salads, and bread. I’ll also make a cake or pavlova, but I’ve got no problem asking people to bring dessert or simply some fruit.
(Photo Credit: Food to Love)
2. Make ahead.
Dips are easy to make a couple of days in advance (my current favorite is a Romesco dip with roasted capsicum and smoked almonds). A grain salad is another easy winner; I cook the grains the day before and toss them with fresh ingredients just before serving.
3. Add your own special touch.
Homemade condiments bring meals to life and are a real talking point. Make your own tomato sauce, chutney, mayonnaise, or salad dressing — people will really appreciate it.
(Photo Credit: Food to Love)
4. Clear the decks.
Make sure there’s room in the refrigerator for people’s sausages, fruit platters, and whatever else they bring. Try to keep drinks out of the fridge and relive those college dorm party days by throwing them all in with ice in the bath. Or, fill a big trough or bucket with ice and keep it on hand outdoors.
5. Play some music.
You can’t throw a great barbecue without some catchy tunes. It’s perfect for keeping things upbeat, happy, and humming.
Some other things to keep in mind are having extra plates, cutlery, and glassware on hand — you don’t want to be scrambling for these while you’re mid-conversation. Speaking of conversation, if someone starts doing dishes, let them. Some of life’s best conversations happen at the sink. Lastly and most importantly, enjoy yourself. There’s nothing so relaxing as seeing your host have fun. It gives everyone permission to let loose.
This article was written by Dani Valent as told to Food to Love editors. For more, check out our sister site, Food to Love.
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