Cooking For A Crowd
Tips for Entertaining
Recipes for Quantity Cooking

Tips for Entertaining

Keep it simple. Stay calm. Whether you're having a few friends over or hosting a sizeable holiday brunch for family, our tips are geared to make your life easier. Rules of thumb for most occasions: An uncomplicated affair is always best. Prepare food ahead of time (and don't serve anything that hasn't been first tested at home) and order prepared dishes whenever necessary. The less time you spend in the kitchen during your gathering, the better. Just remember to breathe!!! THE BUFFET:

Excellent for large gatherings, especially if seating at the table is limited.

Select fare for variety and color. Brighten the buffet table with colorful in-season fruits and vegetables. In cooler months, consider cranberries, persimmons, pomegranates, pears, winter squash, kumquats; during the spring and summer, think about artichokes, chiles, papaya and strawberries.

Make sure you have plenty of food; keep backup portions on hand to replenish the buffet. If you are offering catered dishes, make sure you order enough (guests often take larger portions at catered affairs).

Label any hard-to-identify food with tent cards.

Avoid serving food that requires a knife...finger food and dishes to be eaten with a fork are ideal.


After breakfast and before lunch...keep fare light and casual.

Visit the bakery for an assortment of muffins, sticky buns, scones, bagels (don't forget the lox and cream cheese) and tea breads. And offer lots of choices when it comes to the flourishes: jams, jellies and honey. Select the freshest in-season fruit (a melon and prosciutto combination is always nice).

Serve quiches, frittatas and vegetable tarts that may be prepared ahead of time. we'd suggest these quiches: tomato and goat cheese, ham and cheese, and broccoli-cheddar.

Stock up on fresh-squeezed juice. Offer both regular and decaffeinated coffee.


This type of lunch may be casual or formal—it easily adapts to suit your needs.

For the casual affair, serve no more than three courses: appetizer, main course and refreshing dessert. Soups are always excellent (hot or cold, depending on the season), dressed-up sandwiches, and clever salads (pasta, rice or mixed greens). Light wines are perfectly suited to lunchtime meals.

Offer coffee with a favorite dessert from the bakery or better still...make your own!

For special holidays, you may serve a full multi-course dinner menu.


What fun! traditional or decide (this of course will be dictated by your guest list).

Do a little research. Be sure to ask guests ahead of time if they prefer vegetarian offerings or adhere to any dietary restrictions.

Don't daunt guests with too much food. Plan on enough courses but not so many that guests will feel overwhelmed. Offer variety but keep the progression of dishes well-balanced. Consider colors, textures and flavors of each dish and how all the dishes fit together.

In warm weather, serve cool, light and refreshing fare. When it's cold, think hearty. Always shop in season.

Finish the meal with a wonderful dessert—one of your own making or that of a pastry chef—or fabulous chocolate. Serve coffee.

Whole Foods

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