Let me tell you that an impromptu party that can be arranged with the blink of an eye is more enjoyable than the parties that take weeks of planning and arranging. Here let me tell you that your guests would feel more comfortable if you are there with them throughout rather than spending the entire time in the kitchen. So yes, planning is essential right from the list of invitees, sending out the invitations, to the menu, shopping, setting and décor.
Party is an occasion to enjoy so it is important that your guests should comprise of a motley of friends who feel comfortable in each other’s company and also have common interests. This makes conversation easy and flowing.
Budget is an important consideration. You too will feel comfortable if you manage to plan your party around an affordable budget. Though the budget can be extended somewhat but not too much. Mostly it is food that could overshoot the budget so plan your menu around things that are seasonal and inexpensive rather than something that is out-of-season and therefore expensive.
How to organize a party at short notice!
We have heard about parties that are planned and put in place weeks in advance. We have also heard of some great parties that are planned and executed almost instantly! What is reason for the success of these quick fix parties?
Know the reason - The host knows the reason (obviously!) so can plan the theme accordingly. The host also knows the likes and dislikes of the invitees so can plan the menu accordingly. If it is a Diwali party (which sometimes happens even after Diwali is long gone and over!) see to it that light, low fat snacks are served. Go slow on the sweets and desserts as the festival time would have meant indulgence in sweets and savouries for many!
Prepare the space - If the space or the rooms in the house are cleaned up and crockery and glasses set out then there is no last minute stress to set things up. Disposables can be bought provided the numbers expected are large. The kitchen work can happen simultaneously.
Be open to out sourcing - Purchase the savouries or starters or put them together using easy ingredients. Small appetizers are a hit anytime.
Cook for your guests - The best options that can be served up quickly are fragrant pulaos with raita and papads (roll them up or fold into triangles) or chicken/mutton stew with garlic bread. If time permits, chole bhature is another fantastic offering.
My book – Party Book
This book is an effort to help you cook for your family and friends and impress them with some exotic, some contemporary meals and snacks. In fact, every party you throw could be a culinary milestone! I have also seen on many occasions that the host and hostess do not really enjoy their own parties. My book is a gentle guideline to those who want to be well organized and enjoy with their friends rather than being stuck in the kitchen during the party. You will come across tips like:
Plan the basics well and that can include the format of the party, whether it is formal or informal, or theme of party. Then make the lists of menus, ingredients, fun activities, décor etc.
Shop for foods and supplies that can be purchased in advance (like staples), those that need to be bought during the week of the party or especially ordered. Keep the purchases of fresh fruits and ice creams for the last minute.
Arrange the furniture so that everyone is within comfortable talking distance. Have sufficient small tables for the guests to rest their glasses.
Once the dishes that need to be served hot are cooked, transfer them into microwavable serving bowls or platters so they can be popped into the microwave just before serving.
Make the art of giving away leftovers classy. Keep clear plastic containers filled up and ready, labelled with name of food, as your guests leave. It is a graceful way of inviting the guests to select what they would like to carry home.
Have a taste of some of the party fare like Mini Tostadas, Summer Tomato Pasta Salad, all time favourite Handi Biryani, Pineapple Mousse. There is a lot more to explore in Party Book. It helps redefine and refine the art of entertaining.