A few weeks ago we had a few people over from Steve’s platoon (? I say platoon and he’s totally going to school me and say it was his section or troop or something else like that. Army wife fail) for a small, team-building/socializing party/gathering. I’m not sure what makes up a party but for some reason I see some sort of drinking rager in my head and that’s definitely not what this was. But it also wasn’t a birthday party or a dinner party so I’m going with gathering here.
We had a really great time. I was really paranoid that we would run out of drinks or food and that I didn’t buy enough. I feel like this is probably a common paranoia when someone is throwing a party with food so I’ll fill you in on the details.
The one thing I recommend doing when throwing a party with food is only buying/making things that you personally like. For example, we didn’t bother with ketchup. Some people asked for it but seeing as I had a half a bottle of it in the fridge that expired in April 2013, it was pretty obvious that it’d just go to waste if I were to buy a bottle. That being said I did make the mistake of buying a bottle of sauerkraut and that thing is most likely going in the trash.
We had twelve adults and three kids. I didn’t really account for the kids seeing as two of them were mine and the third one was under a year old. Didn’t really see any of them putting a dent into the food numbers.
Let’s start with the appetizer. I had three different cheeses out, two different meats, two different olives, pickles, green apple, grapes, crackers, and pretzel crackers. The salami was a big hit but the goat cheese was hardly touched. I think it’s so hard to judge what’s going to be a favorite from a cheese plate but that’s why I had a variety. Also, I discovered that my new go to snack is cracker + goat cheese + grape + prosciutto so if people want to leave the goat cheese behind, I won’t complain.
For twelve adults, I accounted for each person eating two brat sausages each. I had two types of brats, beef and spicy jalapeño mango, twelve of each. We ended up having eight brats left over. I think this was the perfect amount for the main course. I think two brats for each person is really reasonable and I was happy to have some left overs but not so many that it’d feel like we were eating brats for the next week.
As for drinks, I bought twenty-four bottles of coke, twelve bottles of izze, and had a bunch of water bottles. So about four drinks per person depending on what people liked to drink. I decided to go with glass bottles, despite it being more expensive, because I think they are really classy. Plus I liked the idea of having something that was less likely to be spilled then cups and I wouldn’t have a bunch of plastic cups or ice to deal with. I ended up having a lot of drinks left overs but since we stuck with the “only buying things we like” rule, this wasn’t a problem. This is also why we didn’t bother with beer. I’m sure some people were expecting it but we didn’t want to deal with drunk people nor having beer in our fridge taking up space for months on end.
Lastly, for dessert, I made inside out pumpkin pie and these things were SO good. I’ll post a recipe tomorrow because you’ve got to make them if you’re having a fall shin dig. I made enough for everyone to have two. These were a big hit and I was glad at the end that there were some still left for me! Another good thing to think about when throwing a party or get together or what have you is to not over complicate things. I used Sophie and I’s pressed flowers to decorate and bought garland at Target. I was planning on making some garland since it’s such an easy project but when I felt like time was running out, it was worth it to just go ahead and buy something to save a step to save some sanity.
All in all, there was a lot of food but the work involved wasn’t too bad. It could have been a lot worst. Like that time I had a tapas party [delish!] but spent most of the time in the kitchen [lame]. I really enjoyed decorating and preparing something low-key like this because I think people for the most part had a good time but I don’t feel like everything has to be perfect. One day I really hope to be able to find a group of people who I can do stuff like this regularly. I just really enjoy entertaining and am happy to have found a pretty good balance in being a good hostess but also being able to enjoy myself.