The constant entertainer...any tips?

homersgardenApril 11, 2006

We purchased a home in late October that has a great set up for entertaining. We have a beautiful view, a large yard, good sized living room, fantastic basement (complete with wet bar,pool table, dart board, etc.) and an inground swimming pool. We are truly blessed to be in this home and we love it. Our reason for purchasing the house was to entertain. We constantly have family and friends stopping by at the spur of the moment to hang out. As summer approaches we feel that it will be even more entertaining.

Currently, I have tons of paper products housed in one location to use when we have unexpected get togethers. We have lots of snack foods that can be put out quickly (nuts, chocolate covered raisens, sodas, waters, beers) What other ideas are out there for spur of the moment entertaining?

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I don't like paper goods at all!....have piles of inexpensive "real" plates, glasses and flatware and keep some handy to the pool and some to the kitchen.....and some nicer stuff for the dining room.
At any time I can toss together a very nice meal for at least 8....I may be short of salad greens, but not too often.
Keep a freezer full of things like boneless skinless chicken breasts that can be thawed in the micro....and asn assortment of marinades, like Soy Vey and various terayaki stuff....
Keep a bag of frozen shrimp and premade and wrapped hamburgers. Always have cheese....real cheese not American processed stuff....and crackers.
Pasta and frozen pesto....canned tomatoes and artichokes, frozen spinach and other veggies, well wrapped loaves of frozen bread.....and always a full bar.....gin Vodka, bourbon, Canadian, Scotch and well as beer and wine.
And please nix that awful paper and styrefoam plates, cups and glasses. Real are so much nicer, cheaper and they all go into the dishwasher!
Linda C...Queen of the impromptu party!

    Bookmark   April 11, 2006 at 10:58PM
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I am not a big fan of paper products myself, but I am also not a big fan of cleaning up for hours after guests arrive or even when they are there. With two young children, this is one of those things I have to let go.
I think you take a look at the kind of entertaining you are doing. Outdoors and informal go with paper (I will spring for the Chinet as opposed to flimsy paper products). Indoors and informal do the same. Formal sit down meal (which I RARELY do) china.
A friends mother who has been entertaining for years said to me once, "As a hostess it is about making memories for you and your guests. You need to avoid standing around in the kitchen as much as possible and have as much done prior to and do the rest after". I have taken to this mantra of sorts and when I know I am going to be having an event I get everything I can ready so when guests come I am with them.
Paper products make this a little easier to do. No worries with the it! Thanks for your ideas.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2006 at 11:31AM
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Real plates are no more trouble than you stuff into the trash and then put into the land fill, the other you put into the dishwasher and then into the cupboard. The one additional step, taking the dishes out of the dishwasher and into the cupboard easily makes up for the aesthetics.
Go to an outlet store and buy a stack of white correll plates. They are cheap ( you will save money over chinet the 3rd time you use them) light weight, nearly indestructable....and are easier on the envoirnment and nicer to eat from.
Years ago...well more than 20 years, I bought 22 white haviland plates at a sale. They have been used for yard parties, dinner parties and a lot of things in between. As I was setting them out on the buffet, someone asked me "Why don't you just use disposable?"...I said I can't afford it!
I also have lots and lots of dishwasher safe yellow plastic plates, bowls and cups. They go to tail gates and picnics in the park as well as the back yard..all much nicer than paper or styrofoam.
Yes....hostessing is about making memories and showing your guests a lovely time. And I think the memories are nicer when clean up is done by stacking the plates rather than making the rounds of the premises with a trash bag.
In the past years DH and I would throw an after midnight party for about 75 to 85 people...ham, home made rolls, fruit salad, casserole, drinks and coffee. We did that for 10 years running....the last party was about 18 years ago....and just 2 months ago someone emailed me saying how much they always enjoyed those parties and how lovely they were.
Attractive plastic, dishwasher safe dishes are all over the place, for not a lot of money. Try Kohls and SteinMart. They have some very attractive plastic ware! And Sams and Costco carry inexpensive stainless flatware by the dozen in a box.....very cheap....and nicer than any plastic.
It sounds like you have a lovely and very gracious home, finish it out and get some lovely dishes and serve ware for the yard and pool-side.
Linda C

    Bookmark   April 12, 2006 at 12:47PM
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Hi Homer!

We too love to entertain as much as possible and usually outdoors. We have a p'tonk set (lawn bowling- kind of like bocce but you don't need a court- sorry about the spelling) that gets used all the time. Friends of ours have a horseshoe court that gets used lots too, but I don't care to mess up my grass for one. We also put big rounds of an oak tree that had to come down in different places- kids like to sit all over. Last summer I put in an outdoor firepit. Great for midsummer pagan lavander burnings or whatever geeky thing we can come up with. Lastly.... fudgesickles. Everybody likes them. You can have hotdogs from the firepit and fudgesickles and it feels special.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2006 at 9:02PM
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Boy are you blessed! Not so much because of the house but because you have visitors who actually want go to your house.

I see nothing wrong with paper plates as long as they are sturdy. Perhaps there are different standards in different parts of the country...... here in casual southern CA, paper plates rule (again, as long as they are sturdy). I'd purchase a good supply of the best ones you can afford, along with a large box of plastic utensils. I've seen large containers of both at Costco. Nice paper plates, nice napkins (in bright cheerful colors), and good utensils are fine for casual dining.

Foods to keep on hand.... nice crackers and an assortment of cheeses; relishes (pickles, olives, etc.), ice cream sandwiches or other ice cream treats. Do you have a Trader Joe's nearby? You could by a small stash of their goodies to keep on hand.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2006 at 3:51PM
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I am interested in this sort of discussion and am reading everyone's post. For the meantime, here is a good book and website source, Kimberly Kennedy's 'The Art & Craft of Entertaining' at most book stores, and Amazon and online at

She has a wonderful casual elegance about how she entertains and it will be a good inspirational read, even the photos are inspiring as one observes the presentational aspect of entertaining... good luck...! You are too commended to be so daring... I am always in a 'gotta be Ms. Perfect Mode' ha ha!!!

Michele of Myrtle Beach

Here is a link that might be useful: The Art & Craft of Entertaining by Kimberly Kennedy

    Bookmark   April 13, 2006 at 4:34PM
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okay, okay, this is kind of a harsh analogy, I know, but I refer to my 4 kids as the "termites" of food.... I can never keep "extra" "just for entertainment" food in my cupboards or fridge!!!! Especially when DH and I are running low on "wood" for the termies... they munch through the "save for party" food...

any help!

desparate mom of 4!

    Bookmark   April 13, 2006 at 4:40PM
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Another idea, and no doubt many will turn up their noses to this...... We really like the thin-crust DiGiorno pizzas. We cut them into small (about 2x2") squares and I think that would be a good quick appetizer.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2006 at 5:40PM
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lindac need an extra refrig....with a pad lock!
My son and his bud once ate 1/2 of a 4 pound wheel of cheese as an after school snack!...That's one pound of cheese each....and a box of crackers!
Linda C

    Bookmark   April 13, 2006 at 10:55PM
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I am not crazy about paper plates and cups. You can get such cheap glass ones -- I just got a whole bunch of really inexpensive glass fruit saucers at Crate & Barrel, and they weren't even on sale. You could get glass dishes for the multitudes cheap at Odd Lots or an outlet store -- just keep your eyes open for a sale or a location closing. I'll draw the line at napkins, though -- I wouldn't use them for dinner guests, but for hanging around casually, oh, why not?

We, too, have one of those houses that has lots of people constantly running in and out, and programs and parties being held here. One of the reasons we bought this house was so that we could say, "Sure, you can do that at our house -- no problem." And I'm glad that my kidz' friends feel comfortable congregating here and dropping by any time. (Once in awhile they even drop by just to say hi to my husband and me, even when they know the kidz aren't here -- I am TOTALLY flattered by that!)

If you can put one in, a second dishwasher is a HUGE help for crowds.

We always have lots of nuts and fruit on hand. So easy to put out fast. And almost everyone likes ice cream.

Even if you aren't a coffee or tea drinker yourself, it's good to have some good coffee and tea on hand for guests.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2006 at 5:28PM
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I.too, am not fond of paper goods, but as someone who has a pool, I'm VERY careful with breakables outside. I do have a sizeable collection of plastic plates and glassware which I use outside...they're the heavy dishwasherable ones. I sometimes use paper napkins, but I have tons of cloth ones...inherited, gifts, g.Sales, etc., and I use those outside. Yes, I do like to iron napkins and tablecloths. Now that the kids are grown, I do use more breakables outdoors. I loved the "termite" analogy. Even though the boys are gone, I have a hard time squirreling things away for guests. My husband gets into stuff, and I do too, occasionally, always thinking, oh,well, I'll just get more, and then I never do. I have had some luck storing goodies out of the kitchen...we don't get into 'em quite as fast as when they're not under our noses.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2006 at 6:36AM
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I keep canned artichokes on hand at all times. Fresh parmesan and good crackers. I can toss together an easy dip in no time.

I always have lemons, limes and oranges in the house. I also keep club soda, tonix, vodka, gin and beer on hand. Frozen lemonade is a must. It's good for the kids or for vodka gimlets.

Keeping frozen things like chicken breasts is great. Also steaks.

I agree to keep good cheese on hand.

I use to pre-make appetizers and freeze them. Like ham biscuits or asparagus wrapped with phyllo.

I don't think people expect you to have a meal for them at the last minute. But, keeping grill items around is a great way to entertain!

Oh and keep ice cream around. Buy the pre packaged cookies that are ready to bake and learn how to make an ice cream sandwich. Kids love them but adults love them more in my opinion. I also keep brownie mix on hand at all times.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2006 at 7:15PM
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A very special friend of mine who has all kinds of Spode, Rosenthal, Bing and Grondahl, etc. told me when we first started entertaining to invite only people that we liked and use whatever we were comfortable with. I followed that advice all thru my husband's career and never felt like I had made a misstep. We had a home with a pool and paper plates were just fine when we entertained around it. Am sure your friends and family will enjoy whatever you do.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2006 at 9:00PM
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Amen to everything Roselin32 just said!!

    Bookmark   April 28, 2006 at 10:36AM
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You know, I agree with EVERYONE.

I'd only add one more thing: just as I don't think anyone needs to be afraid of paper or plastic, I also learned not to be afraid of using my best stuff "just" for us, rather than feeling I had to save it for company lest it get worn or broken in daily use. What a difference it makes to eat, drink, and serve off our nicest things (not always, but at least once a week). It's especially fun on those extremely rare occasions when everyone else is out of town -- china, silver, and crystal just for me. (And really no big deal at all to clean it up for just one or a few people.) What a boost to your self-esteem. That's been a diet tip for ages: serve yourself your meal from nice serving pieces, not the pots, and on your nicest dishes. That way you don't feel deprived, but treated, and you learn to respect healthful food as special.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2006 at 11:25AM
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We entertain a lot too, both at home and at the cottage, the cottage scene can be very impromptu! People joke that I can must have a bunker with food and drink in it! My first rule is always have doubles and replace what you use right away, that way there is always a backup.

I always have several cheeses on hand as well as jars of assorted olives. When I end up with bits and bobs of several cheese I freeze them and when required I "poof" a cheese ball using the various cheeses , mayo, hot sauce, chopped onion...whatever. Cheese thaws so quick and is best if chopped in the food processor while still slightly frozen.

Cup, Cup and a can is always on hand too. 1 can artichokes, 1 cup any chesse, 1 cup mayo. Chop, mix and bake.....yum and it makes a lot!

I also always have frozen nibblies on hand, my home made spanikopita, sausage rolls, sui mai etc. I make them in large quantities and freeze for emergencies.

Another trick is to spend a day making pulled pork, BBQ brisket, hamburger patties etc. Wrap them in single serving sizes, I use that peel and stick wrap...miracle product...then package in freezer bags, just grab what you need when the hoard descends!

By the way, I'm another one in the non paper camp. I only use plastic outside, it doesn't take that long to clean up. It's not the quality of the product for me it is more about controling our waste. The cottage taught me that, whole different perspective when you have to haul garbage to the dump and then see the amount of waste and the impact on our environment. Besides which I'd rather spend the money on more food!!!

    Bookmark   April 28, 2006 at 1:02PM
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Chase, paper will decompose a lot faster than plastic unless you are using your plastic over again? I also think that paper is safer around a pool.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2006 at 2:48PM
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Roselin, the plastic dishes I use are not disposable. They are a lovely set of plastic dinnerware and glassware that I use all the time for outside dining.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2006 at 3:29PM
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And most of the "paper plates" are plastic coated and will not decompose for a long time....not to mention all those plastic forks and spoons.
I can't tell you the number of people who say to me at tail gates and picnics that they really appreciate "real" dishes....although they wouldn't dream of complaining over disposable.
Those plastic plates, mugs and bowls bought more than 30 years ago on sale have saved me and others who have borrowed them hundreds of dollars.
When we have had big yard parties, we go around with a laundry basket for the plates and utensils and a plastic bag for the matching napkins. Nothing but un eaten food gets thrown in the trash...well but for foil and saran....even the bottles and cans are recyclable.
Linda C

    Bookmark   April 28, 2006 at 6:25PM
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In regards to dishwasher-safe (top AND bottom rack) plates and glasses - where did you find yours? Do they really hold up over time? Do you have to spend more for better quality or do the cheap ones continue to look good?

    Bookmark   May 2, 2006 at 8:09PM
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My thing is nice paper napkins with different designs (never white). I stock up when there's a great sale. I've bought them in such unlikely places as Restoration Hardware and our local nursery. It's funny that I'll use Chinet plates, but real cutlery and glasses.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2006 at 9:43AM
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Yes....good quality plastic plates last for years and shelf and bottom shelf of the dishwasher. The yellow picnic ones are Melamine...but I have 6 Rubbermaid, plates and bowls I bought when the grand kids started arriving. They are about 18 or 19 years old ( the oldest DGS is 20) and have been in the dishwasher countless times!
Also in the stack of kid plates is a Teen Age Mutant Ninja Turtles plate....and while not quite 20 years's a relic....and it also looks fine!
I don't use "temp boost" when I wash plastic, but I do use the dry cycle.
I was at Stein Mart earlier in the season and they had the cutest blue and green trimmed plastic summer dinnerware....with matching fish salad plates!

Linda C

Here is a link that might be useful: melamine

    Bookmark   May 3, 2006 at 11:38AM
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Thanks for the info on melamine, Linda. I was looking at a set at Target, but the label said that they were "top rack only" in the dishwasher. I guess from your experience, I can go ahead and put them in the bottom rack. I should go ahead and get them before they're gone! Thanks again.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2006 at 2:48PM
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Wow, the paper versus real dishes is quite an issue. I HATE paper plates and plastic forks. It is always someting to see when I watch a person trying to cut food on a paper plate with a plastic knife. Something is going to give, and it isn't always the food. Larger cities have restaurant supply stores that are open to the public. They have great lines of inexpensive dishes, glasses, tableware and most are very chip and break resistant. The outlet stores, etc. are also a great source. My SIL is always using paper products, and tells me I should do the same. Well, it only takes a minute to load plates and silver into the dishwasher. If it is a large group, put the second load in the sink and run it later. Bed Bath & Beyond has "hotel napkins" by the dozen very cheap. They are white cotton. They wash up very nice and if one does get stained beyond salvage, they are not expensive. Although I will us paper napkins for a large group, as people seem afraid to use the cloth ones, especially with BBQ.

I have a real mental problem in that all of my dishes must match. I CANNOT used a mixed set of dishes, glasses, or tableware. I have full service of everything for about 40 people. Beyond that, it is a trip to the rental store for enough matching service for that group. I always use tableclothes, placemats, and flowers on the tables.

As to the original question about what to keep on hand, the frozen section of the membership warehouse stores have lots of appetizer items that can be done quickly. Most of them are very good, but try them and only buy the ones you like in the future. They have mini quiche and mini taquitos and lots of other stuff that only needs some time in the oven or the micro. I always have some cheese, crackers, smoked salmon, prosciutto, etc. on hand. Some salami, ham, cheese, olives, etc. and you can have an antipasto tray ready in minutes. That goes great with wine. While fresh is always best, I keep frozen strawberries, peaches, cherries, etc. on hand. Fruit and ice cream is always a welcome dessert. We quite often have several courses of appetizers as the entire meal. Makes for a fun and casual evening. Most of these items have a long shelf life, so you can stock up. It really comes down to what you like to eat and serve, and then keeping it on hand.

I am so ready for summer, as that is our season to entertain.


    Bookmark   May 9, 2006 at 3:39PM
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Thanks for the response. I was discussing this with friends and the entire paper versus plastic issue may be a West Coast vs. East Coast issue. My friends say that on the East Coast no one uses is almost forbidden. Here on the West Coast it is pretty much a given amongst my crowd (30 something college educated "teacher" types) that paper will be used. I will devote myself to using plastic/glass for small crowds (under 15), but over that I am still using paper. We feed family members (mainly my younger siblings) at least twice a week and friends about every other week. We have larger functions 15+ people about once a month or so. Lots of good ideas! Thanks

    Bookmark   May 9, 2006 at 4:27PM
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But.....think of the money saved by using something you can wash!!
I remember watching my DIL spend about $70 on plastic stuff for a party of 35. Paper table cloths, cocktail napkins, dinner napking,,,dinner plates, and dessert plates and knives, forks and spoons....all good quality!
I have seen to it that she now has "the real stuff" and no longer has to spend extra $$ for stuff she will only use once.
In my mind, buying disposables is a little like buying one of those cheap aluminum roasters to do your turkey. Sure a nice roaster costs about $40 while one you toss is about $4...but in 10 uses you will have paid for the roaster.....and it does a better job, a real plates and metal utensils do a better job.
I really don't think it's an east vs west thing...I think it's socio ecomonic. I was invited to a friend's for ice cream and cake....12 people invited....lovely house....I know they have very nice everyday dishes....but we were handed disposable bowls. But another couple, similar income, similar age you would never ever be handed anything on a disposable plate!!
The first couple are both from a farm background, the other from a professional beckground. It's what you are used to.
However the cake on the disposable plate was delicious!!
Linda C

    Bookmark   May 10, 2006 at 2:11PM
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this is my first time posting in "entertaining" - I'm now looking forward to doing more entertaining when my kitchen redo is finished in a few weeks...

I live in California and prefer not to use paper plates or plastic utensils-- I like the idea of getting a set in plastic for outdoor use...

    Bookmark   May 25, 2006 at 4:04PM
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Where I live it's not necessarily a socioeconoic thing. I've been to parties at the home of a surgeon (who was raised in very well-to-do family) and the parties were attended by doctors, lawyers, and even their neighbor who is worth over $1 billion (accoding to Forbes magazine). Very attractive paper plates and napkins were used. Usually, when it is a casual affair it is not uncommon to be served on paper goods in our area.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2006 at 1:51AM
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People here generally use paper plates too and nobody has a problem with it. A lot of families have young kids and the thought of entertaining, then getting their kids to bed, and then facing dishes, even if they just need to be rinsed and stacked, is a bit too much. I don't have strong feelings either way -- I had no idea how much emotion there was behind this subject! :)
What I care about most is that I'm free to have a good time with my family and friends -- so thanks for the good ideas for food-related items, I'm going to stock up on a few more of those items. Happy Summer Entertaining, everyone!

    Bookmark   June 7, 2006 at 11:35AM
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Jo-Anns is having a sale on their patio items so I bought 12 patio melarmine-like plates ("Fiesta" pattern) today at 2/$3.00. So, what if we have a crowd of 15, 18, 20, or more? Do I mix them with paper plates? Obviously not, so then I'd have to resort to paper plates. Otherwise do you buy 50 plastic plates in case you have a big crowd? How would you store them?

See, there are other issues involved besides impressing the folks who think paper plates are tacky. I've attended many nice parties where nice paper goods were used and never thought a thing of it and I doubt most of the others did either. Here in southern CA, casual is common and totally acceptable.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2006 at 9:12PM
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I think the idea that using paper is tacky or wrong is
just silly. I choose not to use paper for my own esthetics and
environmental reasons. But would never turn my nose up at someone elses use of the paper plate.
As for storing, I have an old cabinet in the garage for storing entertaining supplies
including outdoor glass place settings for 50. It doesn't take up as much room as
you'd think.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2006 at 7:52AM
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Thanks for the ideas. I have set a hard and fast rule for myself after hearing all your responses. If the party is under fifteen we will use glass or plastic plates. If the party is over fifteen we will use paper and disposable items. I have a 1 year-old and a four year-old and frankly I just don't want to spend all my time in the kitchen cleaning up. One dishwasher wouldn't cut if when we are talking parties of 15+!

    Bookmark   June 12, 2006 at 10:57AM
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Hi there! I am also a first time poster to this forum. Sounds like you have a good rule of thumb re paper products. I use Corelle indoors - but the kids still get Dixie cups :-)

On the waste issue - a lot of people serve those little bottles of water. They really pile up! At our house, water comes from the tap (in a pretty pitcher.) Ditto sodas and juice - we are lucky to have a fantastic lime tree, so it's always lime-ade at our house. (Can you tell I am also from California?)

I like to buy wine in boxes (maybe I can start a whole new controversy here!) It is handy when a few neighbors drop in, and keeps longer after opening (about a month) than a bottle. Do put it in a carafe, though!

DH always has plenty of beer on hand ("better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it" is his philosophy.)

We always have those little carrots, celery, various olives, pepper, tomatoes, etc. so it is easy to make up a crudite plate. Add cheese/hummus and crackers/french or sourdough bread, and you've got a meal. We do try to keep things on the healthy side and skip the chips. A big bowl of popcorn is almost always welcome.

With a little advance time we set up a burrito bar: spanish rice, refried beans, tortillas, some chicken or beef if you like, salad, grated cheese, sour cream, guacamole, salsa. After doing this a couple of time we can be good to go in about an hour. It is a real lifesaver when you have friends with different dietary preferences (vegan, vegetarian, etc.)

Do you have many kids over? With a pool, my main concern would be water safety. You've probably given this a lot of thought, but I'd have an adult appointed lifeguard at all times.

Have a terrific summer!

    Bookmark   June 12, 2006 at 2:36PM
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Well I used the new melarmine plates for a Father's Day BBQ yesterday for family who wouldn't have cared if I used paper. Now I have a big stack of plates and bowls to wash. Next time -- paper!

The melarmine will be used for neighbors and other friends for a different type of gathering. I did toss out the Solo cups and plates we also used -- yes, I do have a limit as to how much standing I am willing to do on my feet and legs that are very sore and achy today.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2006 at 12:19PM
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How big a deal is it to put a bunch of plates in the dishwasher???
I had an indoor/outdoor gathering for 52 2 weeks ago...a friend died who used to live here and was to be buried here, and I provided ( and prepared!!!) a meal, sandwiches, chicken salad, potato salad, buns, cookies and coffee as well as a full bar.....and toys and games for the 10 kids that attended and a place to be for the family and friends.
ALL china plates.....ALL Sterling flatware....ALL glass glasses...stemmed wines ( But I will admit a few drank Corona with lime from the bottle) and 4 dish washer loads did everything....And I will guarantee I wasn't standing while the dish washer was running.
If you want to do a "nice" party, why it's not too much trouble....if you are looking for validation for using paper and styrofoam.....why then "tired legs" are just the excuse needed.
It's fine.....if that's what you choose to do.....why then that's OK....
I don't like disposable dinnerware....don't want to use it, don't want to pay for it and don't want it in my landfill.
But if you don't mind, that's your choice.
But I will bet you I am almost twice your age!! Tired legs??? Hoo boy!
Linda c

    Bookmark   June 21, 2006 at 7:32PM
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Were you also caring for a family member who is recovering from major surgery, taking that person to appointments 3-4 days a week, taking care of most everything around the house, running errands, cooking most meals -- and all the while working a full-time job from home? If so, then wow, you are one amazing person.

I've been doing all that for 2 weeks and I was dragging before the event. My family we were entertaining could not care less if we use paper -- all that matters to them is a good family time together. In fact, they serve paper sometimes for casual outdoor BBQs. One of them wrote the next day to say what a good time they had. Isn't that what really matters?

I will happily use the plastic plates when called for. For this particular time, paper would have been perfectly suitable.


    Bookmark   June 22, 2006 at 12:04AM
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But I will bet you I am almost twice your age!!

Wow -- you are almost 100 years old?? You ARE amazing!

    Bookmark   June 22, 2006 at 12:07AM
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Wow you guys...way to get nasty.
We all carry our own burdens, no need to "top that!"
Taking offense over eating utensils is a bit silly don't you think?
When I have a party a lot of where my own fun
comes from is how it all silver etc. But
to a whole lot it's simply the company of friends.
So asking a loaded question as to whether it's ok to use
paper & plastic or should I use something reusable is
going to receive a ton of opinions...not facts.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2006 at 8:26AM
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There's no "right" or "wrong" way to entertain. My feeling is, I just want everyone comfortable and enjoying themselves.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2006 at 2:49PM
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Amen, cheerful!

    Bookmark   June 22, 2006 at 10:43PM
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No, not while taking care of someone recovering from major surgery....but I did while I was on Chemotherapy a few years back.
I am currently preparing to organize a luncheon at church for 200. I will ask for a lot of help on this as I did the last one for 125 all alone but for serving and clean up help. I won't do that for 200. I guess I just "do it" and don't stand around worrying about how tired I am...
No I am not twice 50 but I AM twice 35.
You don't need any reason or validation from me or anyone else to use paper plates, china plates or just serve your food on a piece of do what you want to do.
But I think paper plates are tacky and won't use them and do not enjoy eating off of disposable dishes at other's houses.
That's my feeling and I will stick with it.
Linda C

    Bookmark   June 24, 2006 at 2:13PM
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OK gals, I am seriously into the camp of plates, silverware, etc.but we had a party at our house, a moveable party. We provided the venue, and all was brought in, including paper, plastic, styro trays, etc. Not what I'd have served at all, BUT after everone had eaten, a person came, an ER nurse, I believe, and the host (not us) made her a grilled steak as the barbecue was gone. It was served to her (out of my presence)on a Chinet plate, and she came to me and said that she couldn't eat this off a Chinet plate and wondered if I had a china plate, which of course I did. Was this an unreasanable request??

    Bookmark   July 4, 2006 at 10:35PM
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I don't think so. It was just a request. Yes or no and it's over. I don't like to eat off of paper,
but I have a real aversion to's like nails on
a chalkboard to me. So if offered the foam I would
probably ask for a different plate. But I guess it really depends on how well I know the hosts.


    Bookmark   July 5, 2006 at 7:36AM
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I think a guest should be grateful for whatever they are served on! It seems so crass to me to ask for better dishes. I'm just happy to be invited anywhere and don't care about anything else except the fact that my hosts wanted me there!

    Bookmark   July 10, 2006 at 5:44PM
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There is no way I could eat a steak from a chinet plate. The thoughts of a knife cutting meat on a paper plate maked me shivver. But also there is no way I would tote china and silverware to someone else's house.
Yes, probably nervy of her to ask...but nice of you to comply with her request.
Linda C

    Bookmark   July 11, 2006 at 11:56AM
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at the risk of being pretty unpopular, i'd like to post this response.

for those concerned about using actual dishware vs. paper...actual resources go into heating the water in the dishwasher (coal, electricity, etc), rinsing your dishes, and not to mention the expense of keeping fats, oils, and grease (FOG) out of your sewage treatment plant (STP).

just like your food does not come from the 'grocery store', nor does your water. we're all probably drinking water that's been 'recycled', that's already been in and come out of someone else. (gross way to put it).

most likely your STP is in need of an upgrade and would appreciate not having as much water to treat, especially before a big rain.

you know, there is (and always will be) a finite amount of usable drinking water on this planet.

on the other hand, use of paper products supports the paper industry, puts bleach and other chemicals into water (but then so does our dishwater), cuts down trees, fills up the landfills (into future compostable product i might add).

so there are two sides to every story. choose whichever is right for you and your situation, try to minimize your impact when you can, and have fun while you're doing it.

same argument with new moms using disposible diapers vs. washable.

no disrespect intended, just that there are different sides to every dilemma.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2006 at 11:35PM
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What works for one person doesn't mean it works for the next person. I agree that there is "NO" right or wrong here. The problem is when some people are soooo set in their ways that they think "their" way is the only way. We all know that isn't true.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2006 at 4:07PM
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"So asking a loaded question as to whether it's ok to use
paper & plastic or should I use something reusable is
going to receive a ton of opinions...not facts."

I looked back through this post and I did not see where the OP ever asked this question. Others on here took this and ran with it.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2006 at 5:06PM
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That was quoted from one of my posts dlynn...and maybe you are right.
However I tend to see these threads as more of a conversation of opinions
instead of a simple question & answer forum.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2006 at 8:49AM
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That's fine. I just kind of felt like the OP was being bashed for using paper products and all she did was ask for more ideas on spur of the moment entertaining. Replies were beginning to get on the "nasty" side and no one was even addressing her original question. The OP tried several times to say I will be using my paper and plastic under these circumstances and am happy with this choice, but still no one is giving any thought to more ideas for entertaining. I just thought we'd kind of done enough of the paper/plastic discussing and thought we should move on to other things she could do to have fun with simple, spur of the moment entertaining.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2006 at 2:51PM
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i agree, dlynn.

since you have a pool, maybe you could consider keeping extra towels on hand for an impromptu pool guest?

the paper products are great for unanticipated guests (easy clean-up), and snack foods that aren't perishable for the same thing. that way if you have something going on, you don't have to prepare a whole lot.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2006 at 5:53PM
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Hey, homersgarden, how did your summer of entertaining go? We didn't do as much as I thought we would, but we had several nice brunches poolside, until the weather got unbearable, and now when September approaches, I think we'll do it again...the sun patterns have changed on the deck. I agree with nibblin about the pool towels. Sometimes people bring their own, but I make it clear that I have plenty, and I'm happy to provide them. To me, washing, drying and folding towels is about the easiest laundry there is.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2006 at 5:24PM
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I guess the summer's almost over but here are my ideas.

I like to make extras when cooking and freeze some for quick entertaining. An extra batch of meatballs can be heated and served as appetizers or in a quick pasta dinner. An extra batch of cookies can be thawed or warmed for guests. Add fresh strawberries and whipped cream to a previously frozen angel food cake for an impressive dessert. Next BBQ, buy extra meat to cube, skewer, and freeze. Easy to thaw and throw on the grill later! You can also buy frozen appetizers to have on hand (not as good as scratch and more expensive, though).

Cheers, from

    Bookmark   August 22, 2006 at 8:18PM
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