Setting up breakfast buffet

likesivyMay 25, 2008

I am planning a breakfast buffet for eight couples, all neighbors. My question concerns setting out condiments. I'll be offering butter, cream cheese, two jams, and peanut butter, to go on bagels and mufins. The butter and cream cheese I'll put on glass plates, but I am leaning towards leaving the jams and peanut butter in their original containers, my thinking being that people will know exactly what they are getting. I don't like the idea of putting up little labels or signs that say "strawberry preserves" or "unsalted peanut butter." How tacky is it to have a couple pretty jars of jams and a high end peanut butter in their supermarket containers?

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Not something I would do . I would put them in pretty glass dishes and would not bother with labels. People will surely recognize peanut butter and, unless the jam is very unusual, most people know strawberry from raspberry from peach.

Growing up we were taught that it was rude to serve yourself directly from a container so it's just not something I would be comfortable with. Actually we were taught to spoon some of the preserves etc on to your plate and then spread as you ate the bread/toast/bagel.

Perhaps others may disagree, bottom line it's really what you are comfortable with. Most people won't notice and won't care.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2008 at 2:58PM
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I was taught the same way chase was. Don't take things from the original jar. It was placed in a separate serving dish, you spooned it on your bread plate and spread from your plate whatever you were eating. It looks a lot nicer also to have condiments in separate serving dishes imo. NancyLouise

    Bookmark   May 25, 2008 at 3:42PM
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I just think it's more fun to use your pretty things instead of just putting out the jars. It's not really much trouble.

You're already putting the cream cheese and butter out on nice plates, so I think you want everything to look a little "dressed up," whether or not you adhere to a rule about not serving from the jars.

I wouldn't label the jams or peanut butter. Just let them figure it out or ask. I'm sure it won't be a problem for anyone.

Sounds like a lovely little party! Have fun.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2008 at 6:45PM
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OK, cute little glass bowls, unlabeled, it is. Thanks for the advice, ladies. The rest of this simple little buffet is

Assorted bagels
Homemade muffins (corn, blueberry, bran)
Coffee and decaf and teas
Orange juice and tomato juice with the makings for screwdrivers and bloody marys
Ham and pineapple on small skewers

It's not that I didn't want to bother putting spreads into serving dishes. I wanted people to be able to know what was what, but that's silly!'s peanut butter...

    Bookmark   May 25, 2008 at 9:02PM
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Pardon the unsolicited suggestion, but I would consider adding some fruit; it's a pretty rich menu. Even just a bowl of strawberries, cherries, or small bunches of grapes so you don't have to do a lot of prep.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2008 at 9:40PM
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I'm not sure it needs more fruit than the juices and the pineapple on the's really a continental breakfast....but I am sure people would like a bowl of fruit.
And the question of whether you need to put the jams and jellys into serving dishes depends on what kind of Buffet this is. If you are just having friends running in for coffee and muffins after, say, helping the firemen with their fund raiser....then I wouldn't think anything about jellu in the jar, but if this is an "invitation" affair with a set table etc....then put the jam into a little dish.
I have lots of little old ( as in antique) footed glass dishes that I use for such things. They don't cost much and look quite elegant!
Linda C

    Bookmark   May 25, 2008 at 10:38PM
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I like to put things in serving pieces- you can make little table tents if you worry folks won't know what they are eating.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2008 at 6:38PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

While I think you have a wonderful menu for women, I would consider some more substantial food such as sausage or bacon biscuits, sausage balls, quiche, or a breakfast casserole.
The menu for 16 people seems pretty light to me.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2008 at 2:45PM
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I did consider a more substantial item, but decided against it because 1) It's just breakfast, not a brunch, scheduled for 8 to 10 a.m., so people can get on with their weekend. And 2) everyone is over 60 and no one seems to put it away like they used to. Also, 3) I'm hoping that others will follow suit and do an occasional neighborhood breakfast, so I don't want to set the bar too high. One of my goals, as with any hostessing, is to make it look simple and effortless.

The breakfast is this Saturday. It's Wednesday. I have time to rethink a quiche or sausage biscuits. Should I?

    Bookmark   May 28, 2008 at 8:57PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

Yes! And Sausage balls would be easy and are always gobbled up.
But quiche would be great too.

I like the flavor of sausage and bacon but I don't have to eat tons of it to satisfy me. Those little bisquick balls are
just right though.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2008 at 10:21PM
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Your party is underway, likesivy! What did you decide? What a lovely idea to have the neighbors in for breakfast. I hope it becomes the custom.

Bumblebeez, please share the recipe for the bisquick balls - they sound wonderful! Thanks


    Bookmark   May 31, 2008 at 9:32AM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

These are classics- and here is the bisquick recipe.
But I only use sausage -uncooked- bisquick and cheese. Nobody I know uses rosemary, parsley or Parmesan in them. I don't think this is the very original recipe either.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bisquick recipe

    Bookmark   June 1, 2008 at 8:49PM
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Thanks, bumblebeez. My family will love these! Wonder where they've been all my life.


    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 2:14PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

Sausage balls have been around for 40 years or so. Probably more.
Here is a more classic recipe. Use extra sharp cheddar cheese if you want to taste the cheese and not have a grease ball. Mix everything lightly -they won't be perfectly meatball shaped and tight packing makes rocks.
You can use 50% less fat sausage but don't cook it first ever.
This recipe is off of Allrecipes but still, it's a classic recipe.


* 1 pound sausage
* 4 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
* 3 cups baking mix


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the sausage, cheese, and dry baking mix. Mix together, and shape mixture into walnut-sized balls. Place on a foil-lined cookie sheet.
  3. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Serve hot.
    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 9:15AM
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I can't wait to try these. Unfortunately, none of the kids will be home to eat them with us for a couple months, so I'll have to wait until they get here.

That's what I miss most about having grown kids - not being able to cook as much or as often as I would like. I still cook a lot, but it's impractical to bake a whole pie or cake, or batch of sausage balls, just for hub and me! I should have the neighbors in!

    Bookmark   June 4, 2008 at 12:15PM
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The breakfast went very well. Thanks to your input, ladies, the buffet looked lovely. I set out small matching bowls for jellies and such, and sprang for a new set of four spreaders, then used antique silver butter knives for the others. I would recommend this breakfast or brunch approach to easy entertaining, and I'm already thinking about my next guest list and menu. Only problem was I prepared way too much food (I like the look of abundance), but no problem. I now have a good assortment of bagels and muffins in the freezer.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2008 at 3:40AM
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I'm so glad it was a success! Well, actually, we could all tell it would be a success; I'm glad you enjoyed yourself and were satisfied.

I'm with you on having an abundance of food. It is so much nicer to host with an open hand. I hate to think of guests holding back from taking the last of anything. I love eating leftovers, anyway, and if there is a lot, I take it to a homeless shelter, which allows us to add sharing to indulging.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2008 at 5:59PM
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Well put, Gellchom. You always demonstrate a gracious attitude.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2008 at 7:32AM
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