Easy Entertaining

How-To,Relish Style
February 17, 2009

Pull together a snappy spring soiree in no time.

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My favorite party scene has always been in the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s when Audrey Hepburn’s character is having a cocktail party in her tiny New York City apartment. People are all over the place drinking, laughing (and smoking!), standing and sitting really close together for lack of room, and her cat is walking all over the furniture and tables. At my last party, literally everyone was in the kitchen area of my little house. I looked around and saw at one time 30 to 40 people I love. They all had a glass of wine or beer and were all talking at the same time and laughing. I was pulling hot appetizers out of the oven and drinking my own glass of wine and realized that I had finally fulfilled my idea of what “party” means to me.

1. Think Spring. Buy containers of wheat grass from your local supermarket, tie a ribbon around the container and viola!

2. Place Cards. Apples, pears, oranges and mini pumpkins make great place card holders. Slice into top of fruit and insert the card.

3. Glassware. Use wine or other stemmed glasses for desserts. Glasses do not need to match and are wonderful for layered or ice cream desserts.

4. Votives. Keep a large bag of votive candles on hand, and place them in shot glasses or small flowerpots. Place 10 or 12 on a plate or into glass bowls. Line a plate, platter or tray with stones, sand or glass pebbles, and put votives on top.

5. Instant Apps. Keep various olives, pickles, jarred tapenades, canned salmon and tuna, capers, crackers, nuts, dried fruits, canned black and cannellini beans, good quality jarred salsas, and jams on hand for quick snacks. Also cheeses such as feta and Parmigiano Reggiano.

6. Buckets and Pails. Use buckets and pails to ice down beer and wine; line one with a plastic bag to serve as an ice bucket. They’re also great for flowers—set canning jars in the bottom, fill the jars with water, and add flowers.

7. Mismatching a Must. Things don’t have to match. Pick up one-of-a-kind wine glasses, plates, flatware and linens from your local flea market, junk stores and yard sales, and mix and match when you entertain. This frees you from thinking you never have enough things to set a nice table, and it is a modern, timeless way to entertain.

By Relish Food Stylist Teresa Blackburn

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