Tips for Selecting a Good Menu

Entertaining | January 11, 2017 | By

So you’re going to host a dinner party and now you’re freaking out about what you’re going to cook. 

Here are some of our tips to help make menu selection a little easier and a lot less stressful:

  • What kind of party are you going to have? Is it casual or formal? You may have your heart set on serving corn but how you serve it is very important. For a casual event whole corncobs are appropriate whereas for a more formal setting consider sauteed fresh corn.
  • Do any of your guests have any food allergies, religious or dietary restrictions? There is nothing worse than cooking a beautiful roast beef dinner when you guests are vegetarians.
  • Use recipes that you have used before or consider having a mock dinner party to make sure that you don’t have surprises.
  • Use recipes that are within your confidence and skill level and try to keep things simple. If every recipe is complicated, it will probably stress you out but more importantly, it competes with the main star of your meal.
  • Select a recipe to be the star of the dinner. This will act as the central dish and then have other dishes to compliment that main dish, visually and taste-wise. 
  • Balance out the richness of the dishes you select, if they are all rich or filling you are likely to have lots of leftovers.
  • Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you need many side dishes, select no more than two or three.
  • Take into consideration the amount of time each dish will take to prepare. 
  • Avoid having two or more dishes that need to be prepared at the last minute and served immediately. 
  • Select dishes for the season, grilled meats, vegetables and salad for warmer months while over the colder months, thick soups and stews with crusty breads are more appropriate
  • Choose ingredients that are in season. In today’s supermarkets you can generally get any fruit or vegetable any time of the year but there is a cost, not just to your wallet but also the taste because many imported produce has been in cool storage before ending up at your market.
  • If you have a theme for the evening, you might want to choose a compatible cuisine type. For example, if you are hosting a Tuscan inspired evening choose Italian dishes.
  • Finally, don’t forget to choose types and styles of food you enjoy – you have to have fun too!