The idea of entertaining can seem complicated, intimidating, even stuffy. Kate Payne, of the website and now book The Hip Girl's Guide To Homemaking, has an approach that's anything but — so when we wanted some tips for fun, low-cost, and delicious ways to gather a group of friends, we knew she was the gal to ask…
From decorating to dining, Kate advocates self-sufficiency – not in some extreme, stress-inducing way but rather focusing how pleasurable and confidence-building it can be to learn new skills and share one's home with friends. When it comes to entertaining, she loves inviting people over for food-based skillshare parties. This is a fun way to share what you know, learn from others, and all go home with tasty foods.
"Everyone goes in on the supplies together, so it’s not a huge expense for anyone involved," she says. "Mine your friend group for essential kitchen equipment and fancy tools to keep supply costs low. Together you’ll create something great, and likely take the fear out of a previously daunting project."
3 Food Parties to Host
Making preserves or pickles together is a fun way to spend a summer day. Share your skills and introduce people to canning in a low-stress way. Designate a few people to lead 2-3 recipes you want to make together. Be sure to note if the recipes you have in mind require advance preparation, like macerating overnight. If you plan to make two recipes at the same time, make a chart of your burners and be sure you have enough heat for all the components, e.g. your canner pot, a saucepan for lids, and enough room for two cooking pots. At our party last summer we made four recipes together over the course of five hours; supply and fruit costs were only $10 per person and we each went home with five jars of yum.
Help your friends get over their fear of yeast with this fun weeknight party idea. What’s more fun than drinking beer and kneading dough with your closest friends? Depending on what kind of loaf you plan to make the host/planner will want to have a couple things ready in advance, the bread you’re going to eat at the party (since a good loaf should be fully cooled) and a loaf that’s ready to go into the oven so you can show them how to assess doneness. Have attendees bring their own loaf pans so they can take their bread home to rise and bake.
Have you caught the Charcutepalooza bug? Here’s your chance to gather around the meat grinder with your pals and learn how to make sausage. A sausage party is a fun Sunday afternoon kind of affair since you can cook it up and eat it right then and there. My friends in Brooklyn offered up three bits of advice to prospective hosts: 1. Rent a hefty 5-pound stuffer versus the KitchenAid stuffer attachment. (It’ll set you back $50 for a weekend rental, but you’ll be so glad you did.) 2. Keep the kitchen cool so the fat doesn’t melt! 3. Between 5 and 7 pounds of pork shoulder will make approximately 20 feet of sausage. For other great sausage-making tips and a recipe visit Tricia’s Sausage Sunday website.
(Images: Jo Ann Santangelo; Kate Payne; Matthew Reed; Jo Ann Santangelo; Harper Collins)