Here’s How Ina Garten Throws a Last-Minute Party in 10 Minutes

published Mar 22, 2019
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Everybody’s been there: all of a sudden, through whatever series of events, you figure out you need to host a gathering at a time where you’re in a major time crunch. For most of us, that means a lot of panicking. But Ina, of course, doesn’t need to do any such thing. Instead, she whips up a quick party, takes a few stunning photo, and then posts on Instagram how fabulous it was. If we didn’t love her, we’d hate her.

“We just finished filming a new season of Barefoot Contessa,” she explains, and she wanted to throw a party for the crew. But since they’d been filming all day, she didn’t have any time to cook. So what did she do? Taught a master class on how to throw a last-minute party.

Ina lined up a simple appetizer buffet for her team. She started with a big cheese platter, arranged with grapes and strawberries, then added a crudité platter with dipping sauce, a smoked salmon platter with bread, roasted shrimp Louis (the only real cooking, she says, was roasting the shrimp), and a little guacamole. And, of course, she arranged the Champagne on ice. Obviously everything looks a lot better when Ina does it in her signature colorful style, but nothing on the platters looks too complicated.

You can find the recipes for the things she actually made — like the roasted shrimp Louis — on her website, but the real lesson here seems to be: it’s okay not to cook. If you are in a time crunch, spend what little time you have assembling, and let the food do the work. As Ina says, this tactic meant that all she had to do just before the party was arrange the platters and pop the Champagne. “Now that’s my kind of party.”