Tips on Stretching Food for Company

In this classic episode of the Mary Tyler Moore show, Mary throws a dinner party. Her obsessive-compulsive friend Sue-Ann offers to make dinner, but prepares exactly six portions. Watch the first minute or two of the scene, when a guest takes more than his share.

Has you ever run out of food for your guests? As hosts, we have to balance preparing more than enough with having to throw out leftovers. And just like at Mary’s party, the unexpected can happen: Someone who offers to prepare food doesn’t bring enough, extra guests turn up, or one guest is unusually hungry. Maybe a dish you plan to serve gets ruined.

Here are some tips for when you realize that you may be short on food when company comes.

Refreshment Help for Hosts

I often host clubs, committee meetings and speakers in my home. The standard refreshments in our community at these events are bought or homemade cakes, soft drinks, bottled water, packaged “snack” foods, fruit, and nuts. I prefer not to buy the prepared foods both because of health and cost. Whatever is left, my family will eat.

Welcome Wasted Food Readers!

Jonathan Bloom of Wasted Food was kind enough to post Be Thankful, Not Wasteful, with suggestions for avoiding Thanksgiving waste. Jonathan writes about news and public policy relating to food disposal. For instance, should children eat lunch before recess or after? They eat more afterward, yet most schools schedule recess after lunch. Or whether colleges […]

Links for an Easy and Frugal Thanksgiving Dinner

We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving much in my part of the world, but I collected some links for the readers who do. Tomorrow I’ll share the link for my guest post on how to avoid food waste on Thanksgiving.

Bar Mitzvah Brunch Ideas

Fancy Vegetable Platter
Reader Terry is making a Friday dairy buffet brunch for about 25 people in her friend’s home, for bar mitzvah guests coming in from out of town. She doesn’t want to duplicate the bagel and lox brunch planned for Sunday, and asked for ideas for items that can be cooked ahead of time.

Here is my suggested menu plan. It involves a limited amount of items that Terry will have to prepare herself.

Do You Admit To Guests That the Food Isn’t Great?

A classmate in my high school public speaking class began his talk by apologizing for his sore throat. When he finished, the teacher commented and advised the class never to apologize in advance.

She said, “Don’t set up your audience to expect something less than excellent. Because you never know.”

I apply this principle to entertaining.

Estimating Quantities

It’s Money-Saving Monday at CookingManager.Com: Most people overcook when they are planning for a crowd. While you don’t want to run out of food, too much also causes problems of storage, waste, and spoilage. Sometimes I estimate by extrapolating from the amounts that my family eats. Or I compare quantities from similar recipes found in […]

Quick Update on Bar Mitzvah Planning

Here’s what we did on this extremely hot and humid day. My husband and all of the kids took part. Wrapped candy with printed labels to make them look like Torah scrolls. Unnecessary, but thanks to my daughter they came out perfect and it makes the event a little more special. We’ll pass them out […]

Planning My Weekend Bar Mitzvah Meals for 40 Guests

Tuesday is the day for Time-Saving Tips and Techniques. Today I will share details of my own cooking project. My family will be celebrating my son’s Bar Mitzvah in a few weeks.  Since observant Jews don’t drive on the Sabbath, we’ve invited part of the extended family to stay overnight so that they will be […]

Keep Hot Foods Hot and Cold Foods Cold

As I wrote in my post on thermostats, most of our household energy budget goes to heating and cooling. So once we have invested our money, it pays to maintain the temperature of the air or food. With food we get an extra bonus: Keeping foods hot or cold prevents bacteria from growing and helps […]