Whether you are shopping for your Thanksgiving meal, or choosing menu items for your wedding reception, it’s important to think about the meal in advance. If you are planning to DIY the food for the holidays, or even if you are having your meals catered you need to first start with a list of items you’d like to have and/or prepare. If you are inviting others to bring dishes – make the list known so that you don’t have three salads, two pies and nothing else! Think about taste, flavors and what is in season.
Here are my 8 tips to ensure there is a great menu for all of your celebrations:
1) Include a variety of options for meat and vegetarian eaters and different flavor profiles.
2) Like a good story, it should have an interesting beginning/starter, fulfilling middle/entrée and a complete ending/dessert.
3) Know your audience and who will be dining with you, make sure your menu will be pleasing to your special guests.
4) According to restaurateur Nick Lander: “A menu must never be bland, trendy, too modern or play to fads. It has to have character, to show that there is someone bright behind it.”
5) We eat with our eyes first, presentation and color is a very important component.
6) Keep your guest count into consideration, have items that work for your guest count and make sure there is enough food to go around.
7) Think about beverage pairings where appropriate. This isn’t only limited to Wine, you can pair food with Beer and/or specialty beverages (alcoholic or non-alcoholic).
8) If you are the one cooking – timing is everything! Plan ahead, know how long each item will take to prepare. Make what you can ahead, and time the other dishes according to your guests arrival.