Regardless of the occasion, the kitchen is always the hub of any gathering. While the COVID pandemic has meant that the size of our gatherings has had to shrink, this doesn’t mean that you can’t still celebrate. Even if you’re planning a small gathering, your kitchen will still need a little care and attention to get ready. So, here are some tips to help you prepare for your small gathering.
Have a Checklist:
Preparing for any event is difficult if you don’t know what you need and what you should be doing. So, start with a checklist. Since the kitchen’s focus is food, create a list of the necessary ingredients for what dishes you plan on serving. Think about what plates, utensils, and serving dishes you will need for the meal. You will also need to consider if you will reheat the food or cook everything fresh. Jot down all these details on your checklist, so nothing is left to the last minute and forgotten.
Clear the Clutter:
Since your kitchen is likely to be the busiest room in your home, it is also likely to be the one place where clutter rapidly accumulates. Whether it is pieces of the kid’s schoolwork on the table or bills, keys, and other items left on the countertop, you won’t want all of these things around when you’re entertaining. So, ensure that all the surfaces are clear of clutter, and everything is tidied away.
It is also a good idea to clear the clutter from inside your refrigerator. When you’re having a gathering, refrigerator space will be at a premium. So, get rid of any old food. You could even plan a few leftover meals in the days before your event, so you can free up more refrigerator space. Even if you’ve not asked guests to bring food items, they may bring a bottle of wine out of courtesy. So, it is a good idea to have some extra space in your refrigerator.
Do Your Prep Tasks:
Preparing foods and doing some cooking the night before your event can help you to have everything ready. It will also mean that you don’t need to spend most of the time in front of the stove rather than chatting with your guests. Additionally, if you’re running around at the last minute to finish cleaning, setting up, and cooking, you’re sure to feel overwhelmed.
There are a variety of tasks that can be done ahead of time. Since kitchen space will be precious, you’ll want to maximize your serving space. This is far easier when you’ve done most of the cooking and clean up in advance.
Once your guests arrive, and the party has begun, you’ll be able to focus on your family and friends and enjoy the inviting space you’ve created.
Cook Something Tried and Tested:
While you may want to wow your guests, a gathering is not the time to experiment with new dishes. When you’re serving a larger number of people, stick with dishes that you’ve already tried and tested. You want to prepare something that you feel confident cooking. If it is something that you make on a regular basis, you’ll feel far less stress during the meal prep.
If you’re planning on serving buffet style rather than a sit down meal, it is a good idea to label the dishes. This will help to avoid guests constantly asking what something is or what ingredients are in it. You can print labels or get crafty and create unique or fun designs. It is also a good idea to label foods if you know some of your guests have food allergies or dietary restrictions. This will allow these guests to feel confident you are aware of their restrictions and have accommodated them, so they can also relax and enjoy the party.
Consider the Temperature:
Another important aspect of hosting in your kitchen is to make sure the space is at a comfortable temperature. Before your guests arrive, open up the windows. Once your range is on, it’s likely to get warm quickly, particularly when there are more people filling the space.
Create a Happy Hour Atmosphere
Food isn’t the only important feature of a good gathering. You’ll also need to provide great beverages. Whether you’re serving wine or making a fresh cocktail, once everyone arrives, you’ll have little time to prepare anything.
Your guests will want to catch up with you and find out what’s been happening in your life. So, ensure everyone feels their thirst quenched by having drinks ready to serve and chilling in the fridge.
Don’t Forget Your Playlists:
Regardless of the size of your gathering, you’ll need some music to create the right ambiance. Music can bring guests together, but only with the right playlist. You’ll want music that compliments the theme of your party. It also needs to be set at the level where you can still talk and hear each other. So, think about your playlist before the event. That way, you can just set it and forget it.
Set Up a Kids Area:
Finally, if you have children and your guest will be bringing their kids, set up a kids area. Even if you’re having a sit down meal, children will quickly get bored and want to leave the table. So, it is a good idea to have a designated area with some coloring books, crayons or a few toys. This will keep the children occupied and allow the adults to relax.
The kitchen is often the heart of the home. Guests are often drawn to the relaxation and warmth of a kitchen, regardless of the size of party. With these tips, you will have your kitchen ready to host your next gathering.
If you’re unsure if your refrigerator can handle the demands of a party, it may be time to consider an upgrade. You can explore your options with our online refrigerator collection. If you need additional guidance, speak to one of our home appliance experts, who would be delighted to help.