top it off
I’ve learned the hard way that no matter how delicious your dish, people are not going to eat it if it doesn’t look delicious. (Don’t even get me started on the pecan pie incident.)
So over the years I’ve paid close attention to the best way to make my table and food look awesome. Here’s what I’ve picked up:
- Like a big (but extremely prepared and party-savvy) dork, the night before the party I set my buffet table. I place all the serving platters where they’re going to sit on the table, put out corresponding utensils, and then stick Post-its on the dishes indicating which food item goes where. This is helpful in soooo many ways. It makes sure the look of the table doesn’t get lost in the last-minute details of throwing a party. It forces you to make sure all the servingware is available (and not, for example, languishing in the fridge filled with other contents). And if friends come over beforehand to help you with the party, they can just follow the Post-it notes and fill empty dishes without stopping you in your last-minute party-throwing frenzy.
- Group guests’ plates, utensils, napkins, etc., together in an easy-to-spot place. I stumbled upon a new way to present these essentials by placing the plates and napkins upright in a copper basket whose purpose I’ve never understood and putting utensils in short crystal and silver vases.
- Cheese can be downright artful if you vary cheese shapes, such as cubes, small wedges and slices. You can arrange cubes and wedges (for wedges, think slightly larger than a cube) in rows like a little army of cheese. I’ve also seen cubes mounded on top a round of a different type of cheese. Go for a fallen domino effect with slices. Use strawberries and grapes as colorful garnish.
- Melon balls can be ho-hum, but I’ve seen them become adorable when served on skewers. Thread four melon balls on a skewer and serve them sticking upright either in a patch of wheatgrass or in a Styrofoam base placed in a pot.