Party Menu Calculator: How Much to Serve

Know How

Party Menu Calculator: How Much to Serve

You’ve just decided to get your friends together and host a party. What’s the easiest way to plan your food and drink repertoire? Keep these factors in mind:

[To determine amounts, save the chart above by pulling onto your desktop and print]

The count: How many people are you expecting? Keep track by using an online or phone app.

Who’s coming? Tally up who-likes-what if you are familiar with all your buds’ taste buds. If you haven’t got a clue, then follow this formula: 2 meat options, 1 seafood option, 1 vegan option, 1 vegetarian option.

Small bites: Providing finger food is the quintessence of party dynamics. You want people to mingle and move around and focus on socializing. Small bites provide the perfect way to keep guests fed while keeping the scene exciting. This also saves you from having to buy paper plates, plastic utensils, and such (no waste!). When we develop menus at HOBNOB, we think first about the theme, what flavors work well together, and how to adapt full-size dishes into one-bite morsels. Take something as simple as cornbread, for instance. Instead of putting out a pan of it, try cutting it up into cubes, and serve with a dipping sauce. Fancy toothpicks are your best friend!

How much? Follow the graphic above to determine how much food and drink to serve. Lean towards over-serving. If you provide more than guests will eat, c’est la vie! Partition the surplus to guests as they exit and those friends will have extra loving thoughts of you and your party the day after.

Heavy or light? For in-between-meal parties serve lighter bites—more like snacks. If you party will take the place of dinner, then go with a heavier assortment, and up the amounts a bit.

How good a cook are you, anyway? Adventurous cooks, this is your time to shine! Grab that bottle of aged balsamic vinegar you’ve been saving, or contact that amazing seafood resource you’ve been keeping in your back pocket. You have the floor and your guests are waiting to be wowed. Beginner cooks can still rock a party by just being smart about the offerings. A plate of specialty, not-the-usual cheese and fresh bread are welcome at almost any party scene. Fill out the offering with fresh olives, fresh fruit, specialty jams, charcuterie and pickles. Hit gourmet stores’ deli counters for their pre-made foodstuff and partition things out as small bites. For instance, go for a pre-made quiche, then cut into small bites (you can do the same with gourmet pizza). Try buying ingredients from online stores, like D’artagnan or Dean & Deluca, who offer high-end pâtés or things like smoked duck breast that can be easily parlayed into canapes. Just assemble and go.

Of course… Just look through HOBNOB for fresh ideas and resources to get your party menu in order quick.