Last week I got an email from Michelle at Farmers Wifey which I knew would be perfect for these segments of tackling the big issues. She needs our help! And we are here to help aren’t we?
“At mealtimes, what is best to do? Serve each family members plates to them already full, or have the yummy food in lovely serving platters etc in the middle of the table and have everyone help themselves? I’m kind of thinking that the latter is more chic…can you help? Oh wait! There’s more….OR have the serving platters on the table and serve each person at the table by the host/the mother/the boss of the family? Confused much!”
Confused you should be Michelle – it’s a tough topic, but one I’m going to tackle. I think I’m up to it. Round these parts most nights dinner is served on each person’s plates and bought to table. If we are having something new that the kids haven’t had before I find that letting them have some control over it (like serving themselves) will make them try it more. We have little tongs just for that too! Weird but true.
Dinner parties and or lunch soirees are a different kettle of fish. The show pony factor needs to be upped and sometimes a platter can do that for you. Things like pastas/curries are best to be served in the kitchen onto plates and served individually. I think for a more formal dinner party that it’s best to serve in the kitchen and bring out the plates for guests. One exception to this rule would be if you had something really flashy and fiddly with show pony factor of 9.5 or above (kind of like this Salmon en croute). You really want to impress those bastards so take it to the table and serve from there. If it was a more casual family dinner like a BBQ or lasagna then whack it in the middle and serve out to guests. I always prefer the host to serve out to guests if there is one main dish (like a lasagna or big bowl of pasta) but if there are a number of dishes to be used like a roast with potatoes/greens etc let the people help themselves. The host can also portion control as they go which helps when you only have enough and not lots of leftovers (never the case here I always overdo it). ALWAYS, I repeat, always let the guest serve their own amounts of sauces/gravy etc.
So, my answer is, it depends on what you as the hostess are trying to achieve from the dinner. Want to host a fancy dinner party? Serve those plates in the kitchen and bring them to table (exception being for fancy pants things that need to be seen whole). Something more casual? Platter it up and have the hostess serve (if there is just one main dish to serve from). Casual with lots of dishes to chose from? Let the bastards help themselves.
And remember, always serve champagne to start. Actually, that might just apply to me.
Thoughts people? Where have I gone wrong here? What did I miss? There are SO MANY DIFFERENT AREAS TO COVER HERE aren’t there? I see a series. Table setting. Flower arranging. Hostess etiquette….oh my, I need to lie down.