It is assumed that when we invite guests over to our home, we’ll be offering them something to munch on if not a full meal… and as such, there can be times people come over to your home already really hungry in anticipation! However, you might have to wait to serve lunch or dinner to guests that have already arrived because there are some stragglers that are delayed. In such situations it is important to have a back up plan on how to keep your guests happy (or busy at the very least) so that they are not a miserable bunch by the time you are able to serve them.
It would be ideal if you had a charcuterie plate all prepped and ready to go but that might not be the case if you were planning to serve a simple meal or a heavy one that you wanted your guests to tuck into asap. Appeasing a hungry and impatient group doesn't have to be a tough task. Use whatever you have- just make it look pretty. Maybe you can’t serve up your first course/appetizer as it has to keep warm and only 4 out of your 9 guests have arrived- why should you double up your efforts when you can use that time to prep for the whole meal or to chat with them. Look around your kitchen, pantry and in the fridge for inspiration.
I try to keep certain items in my pantry at all times; such as, dry fruit, textured and flavoured crackers, and nuts. There will usually be at least 2 kinds of cheese in our fridge at all times and 1 or 2 types of fruit. A couple of weeks back, we were waiting for 1 last guest to arrive for lunch, so I quickly put together the above items for the other 4 guests to enjoy as they talked and sipped on their drinks. My guests loved it. They thought I had planned it when really, I had planned for them to have drinks and start their first course directly as I was serving a 5 course heavy meal that afternoon. (The menu: Pan Con Tomate, Mushroom & Potato Bisque, Fattoush, Jerk Chicken with Tri Colour Risotto, Apple & Berry Galette with Vanilla Ice Cream, followed by Tea of course!) As you can imagine, I didn't need to plan ahead for appetizers but because I had to delay, I put together a selection of the following: almonds, black pepper goat cheese, rosemary and olive oil crackers, and grapes. Simple and yet it kept them happy for that extra half an hour.
Some suggestions of typical items that we can find in our kitchen to throw together:
Cheese slices (whatever cheese you have)
Cream cheese on crackers
Dates or figs
Bresaola or cold cuts
Bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar
What is the oddest combination you have served up for people to pick on as they wait because you didn't have anything planned?
hAPPY eATING & kEEP sMILING
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