I have learned lots of lessons over the years for great party food. It is good for me to sit back and remind myself what those lessons are. While I’m at it, I will share them with you.
Observation 1. If you have lots of different things to eat, people will want to eat some of each one (except the ones that have something they consider heinous in them). So, apportioning the items out into manageable portions allows each person to try what they want to taste without getting too full on one thing. Or worse, leaving some on the plate.
Observation 2. Either choose your serving pieces first, then plan your food, or do the converse. Do not choose your serving pieces, then assume your stuff is going to fit on it.
Observation 3. Use the right size plates. If stuff hangs off the plate, guess where it lands? Exactly.
Observation 4. Plan your menu on paper. Organize your list into hot, cold, and room temperature categories. Within each of those categories, further segregate them by prep time so that you start the ones first that require the most advance work and end with those that whip together quickly.
Observation 5. Scatter your plates around the serving table. If you place them in one stack in one place, you will cause a traffic jam.
Observation 6. Always, always have some plain fresh fruit (beautifully presented, of course) and some glorious fresh vegetables so that those who are watching their weight or just want something very light and uncomplicated can find something that pleases them.
Observation 7. If it’s a big crowd, you need to have lines on both sides of the table. Duplicate what you are serving on both sides of the table, so they only need to visit one or the other.
Observation 8. Use little cards or something similar to identify what you’re serving. Picky people like me want to know there’s nothing scary there.
Observation 9. Build in time to relax and take a deep breath before you greet your guests. If you are relaxed, they will be, too.
Observation 10. Have fun. That’s the whole point, isn’t it?