Party Menu- Recipe Planner for the Big Day
It is that time of the year again we anxiously look forward to each year. Yes, time when we celebrate the combined birthday dinner party for our kids, which has become a sort of ritual for the last 10 years. Though with age catching up fast, it is becoming a bit taxing to entertain a guest list of 80+ friends. The happiness written on the faces of our children fuel our energy and helps us do the same year after year :) And for sure these are some of the most wonderful moments of our life!
As commented by a friend Sra on my FB status “ I’ve never seen normal people – you know what I mean, non-caterers – cooking for such a large group!” Cooking for a large crowd surely is a herculean task. But the number of times I have hosted this day has certainly let me ease out the work by planning ahead and learning from my previous mistakes. And I am sure that a little bit of planning & loads of will power is what you may need to pull such large parties off gracefully. Yes you can!
Just thought of sharing my experiences about how I go through the whole process of organizing this event and my marathon cooking. These are some of the important tasks I follow religiously for each party. Hope this helps you in deciding your grand day ahead.
Extra chairs were ordered on rent to accommodate the guests, sofas moved out to the Foyer and the Dinning table to the side. Women friends and the children in the living room and the men folks sit out in the Foyer area.
Party Planner at a Glance;
- Making list is an absolute essential if you are organizing a big party. Keep a small note pad just for this event.
- Make a guest list 20 to 30 days ahead, giving them ample time to reply about their availability.
- Simplicity rather than the extravagance rules when cooking for a large gathering. You will never go wrong when the recipe is easy and simple to cook.
- Plan the menu also around the same time and note it down in a separate notebook.
- Keep the menu simple yet kids friendly. Pasta, Bhel puri, Chaat, Noodles, Burger and Pizza are some of the recipes which can be planned keeping the kids in mind.
- Buy most of the imperishable food items well ahead of time.
- Keep a count of the children and get return gifts according to the age and of the child.
Hubby dear obliges to decorate the house and keep the children busy, giving me ample time to cook and do the rest of the work without hindrance
Plan for the Guest List;
- This is the most important list I make almost a month before the party. Family friends with their kids, classmates of both the kids and a few new friends are listed in.
- Each child is marked with their age and sex in two separate columns, which helps in deciding the return gifts accordingly.
- Pencil boxes, lunchboxes, small handbags, designer stationary, masks and CDs are the few return gifts I get for the children, along with a bundle of handy bags to pack the gifts with a few chocolates and other things.
- Get a few fancy knickknacks for the women friends too and gift wrap them a few days in advance.
Tambola or Housie is an interesting game of numbers, even small children get engrossed in the whole game. You need to have paper tickets, number board and lots of small pencils to strike the numbers out.
Games to be played;
- This is the time children look forward to in any party as there can be many games and prizes to be won.
- Tail the donkey, Riddles, Tambola, Pass the buck are a few games I keep in all of my parties. These games are an excellent way to keep the children engaged and involved in the party.
- A mike and an audio system with speakers is a great addition for such large parties.
Things I plan for the last 3 days before the D Day, which in turn helps me ease out the final day stress.
Two days before the Party;
- Decorating, cleaning and preparing the welcome drink.
- Buy required quantity of use and through paper plates, cups, spoons and paper napkins.
- Return gifts for all the children and some extra to keep as prizes for the games.
- Purchase stuffs for decorating the house, such as balloons, paper works and wall hangings.
- Check on your pantry and buy staples such as sugar, salt and imperishable food items to be needed for the final day cooking according to the menu.
- Order for extra chairs on rent if the need be.
- Clean the house giving more importance to well maintained bathrooms & kitchen. Keep fresheners and sprayers in each room.
- Keep the games ready, riddles well written in a paper, extra tickets for Tambola, Donkey drawn on a cardboard etc.
- Chairs were ordered on rent to accommodate the guests.
One day before the party;
- Baking the cakes and shredding the veggies and fruits, cover with cellophane wrap and refrigerate.
- Prepared the ice cream and custard and keep in fridge.
- Set curds for the menu in the night.
- Boil the potatoes and keep them in refrigerator without peeling the skin.
- Main cooking.
- Arranging the table and the cutlery.
- Getting ready.
- Welcoming the guest.
The menu for this year is;
- Mint & Orange Lemonade
- Eggless Chocolate & strawberry Cakes
- Vegetable Fried Rice with Yogurt raita
- Pav Bhaji - Soft Buns and veggie delicacy
- Rice mixed with Yogurt and Seasoned with nuts & fruits
- Strawberry Ice Cream
- Mixed Fruit Salad
- Potato Chips and Cool Drinks (ready made)
Planning well ahead of time will have you do very little of work on the actual day of the party, which in turn will keep you relaxed. I feel that keeping the menu simple in a large party is the key to a successful and stress free celebration. Keep the extravagance and exotic dinners for a small gathering.
Guests will feel more comfortable if the host & hostess are enjoying, mingling and paying personal attention to each of them, rather than spending whole time in the kitchen.
At last finished working upon 7 posts simultaneously and published them at the same time! Time to relax…
Check out the recipes for the mega party here;