There’s nothing quite like a family party for bringing everyone together. Once conversation is flowing and all the generations are enjoying great food, every family get-together is enormously rewarding. But, when you’re in the midst of planning, pulling off a smooth event can seem like a huge mountain to climb. How do you ensure your kitchen stays calm and collected on the big day?
Prepare properly, and you’ll be set to throw a memorable party everyone will love.
- Clear clutter from your surfaces
The kitchen is at the heart of any family event. People will be milling around, serving drinks, chatting and, if you’re lucky, helping with the washing up. It’s important to keep your surfaces gleaming and make sure your kitchen looks its very best. That means clearing papers, stray glasses and non-essential appliances from your surfaces. Make sure there’s plenty of designated serving space for food and drink – as well as room to prepare food.
- Deep clean your appliances
Before the big day, it’s a good idea to take some time to make your appliances sparkle – inside and out. Not only will this leave the best impression – it will also make your kitchen feel great.
- Create a cooking schedule
If you don’t plan your cooking in advance, it is all too easy to end up chained to the grill while others enjoy the party. Avoid any dishes involving too much prep on the day – if possible, prepare and refrigerate food the evening before, so you can mingle when guests arrive. If you host parties regularly, it may be worth investing in a large range cooker. Separate ovens with a range of settings mean you can cook multiple dishes at once – really reducing your cooking time.
- Stock up
The importance of ensuring you have enough food and refreshments cannot be overstated. While guests won’t expect an endless procession of appetisers and drinks, offering a good selection can make them feel looked after throughout the day. Make sure your spice rack is well-stocked, so you’re prepared to whip up unexpected dishes for that vegetarian cousin who drops by, if necessary. Fill your fridge with plenty of fresh fruit and spare salad ingredients.
- Prepare simple snacks and drinks
Always prepare some simple drinks and refreshments before the event – it is an easy way to keep guests entertained, and if they’re laid out on a platter, you’ll have more time to enjoy the party.
It doesn’t have to be extravagant to do the trick. Simple treats can be effective – like sliced fruit for the children, and modest dips for the adults. Keep drinks chilled and always make sure you have plenty of ice.
- Plan ahead for safety
Family parties usually mean a crowd of children will be roaming through your home and garden. If you’re not used to the little ones, it can be easy to forget how dangerous your home may be for small hands.
Ensure electricity sockets are plugged and covered, and always keep cleaning products locked and out of reach.
If you have the room, it can be useful to prepare two kids’ rooms at any family event – one for younger children, and another for teens. Havens laid out with games and toys can be a great way to prevent toddlers wandering into busy kitchens.
- Check your dishwasher
Take the time to make sure your dishwasher is in peak condition and able to cope with heavy loads. If necessary, clean pipes and wipe out the ridges with white wine vinegar. If you can run several short washes through the day, this will save masses of time on the big clean-up.
- Set out serving cutlery before guests arrive
Whether you’re hosting a sit-down dinner or a relaxed garden party, guests will need cutlery laid out before the event. You might like to set your finest serving spoons, or keep it simple. Summer entertainment trends for 2018 show eco-friendly parties are on the rise, with more hosts than ever shunning reusable plates and forks.
Still, if you plan well and recruit the help of a few family members, you can keep guests entertained with hassle-free family fun.