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A Potpourri of Spring and Summer Parties


Michael takes a break from the barbecue while Max oversees the food to be served to their guests.

Summer is almost here and there are so many types of parties to host – indoors or outside. 


• Special Occasion Lunches. Lunch is generally a lighter meal, perhaps one appetizer, main course, salad, and dessert. I always write the menu on a piece of attractive stationery and try to name the dishes according to the theme. For special occasions, such as a baby shower, I don’t just serve a cake for dessert, I serve a Lullaby Cake. For a bridal shower, I serve Honeymoon Mimosas. To celebrate a friend’s promotion to Senior Vice President, I hosted a celebration lunch for her and wrote the following on the menu card: Vice President’s Quiche, Supervisor’s Spinach Salad, and Executive Fruit Compote. 


• Entertain Al Fresco. There’s something special about sitting under a shady tree sipping a cool drink in the daytime or dancing under a starlit sky on a warm summer evening. Many hosts like the advantages of outdoor entertaining. Simple and easy dishes are the norm. There’s usually more room in the backyard than indoors. The house stays tidier, and the clean-up is easier. Plastic plates, cups, and glasses provide convenience and a casual atmosphere. 

   

For evening parties, enchant the atmosphere with candlelight: Cluster candles of varied sizes as a centerpiece or a votive candle at each person’s place setting for a sit-down dinner. 


• BBQs, Picnics and Cookouts. Remember to spray insect repellent before the guests arrive, use electric gadgets or leave some repellent cream for guests to use. Menus can be easy and fun by serving cold salads, fresh fruit, vegetables in season, and grilled meats. If you don’t like to stand by the barbeque alone, simply set up the bar near the grill and you will have plenty of company. Propose a rain-date for an outdoor party or, at least, have an alternate plan if the weather doesn’t cooperate. Damp weather doesn’t have to dampen the spirit of the party if the guests can gather in another indoor party room.


• Cooperative Parties. Share the expense of a party by hosting a gathering where everyone either splits the cost of the food or brings a dish. Two popular excuses for not hosting a party are the expense and the effort. If these two factors were shared among friends, there would be many more parties to attend. 

Another idea is to initiate a Progressive Dinner with neighbors who live close by. Just walk to a different house for each course. Have cocktails and appetizers at one house, the main course at another, and dessert at a third home. Guests can even vote on the Tastiest Dish or Most Coveted Recipe. While the weather is warmer, take advantage of so many types of parties to host!


By Maureen Molé

Molé is a lecturer, product spokesperson, and the author of The Book of Entertaining at Home. Email any questions or comments to MaureenMole@gmail.com

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