Monday, March 14, 2011

Ask Your Hostess: What To Serve When Meeting the Parents

Host-It Notes reader, Jessica, asked for a bit of advice this week: I'm hoping you can give me some suggestions. My boyfriend's parents are flying in to town in a few weeks, and I have invited them to my house the day they arrive. They'll already have had dinner before they come over, so I am looking for any suggestions you might have on food/beverages to serve them. I was thinking maybe some desserts and wine but other than that I have no idea. Here is the other complicating factor: I will only have about an hour at home before they ring my doorbell.

Thanks for writing in, Jessica! You'll want something a little more special than standard choco-chip cookies, but you don't want to be baking as they arrive. Consider a modest cheesecake bar. Buy or make a plain cheesecake ahead of time then offer it up with caramel, chocolate, and raspberry toppings or crumbled chocolate wafer cookies. If that seems over the top for the occasion, just serve single slices of cheesecake drizzled with a topping and add a few berries and a sprig of mint to the plate. Get yourself a little squeeze bottle so you can make the drizzle pretty. This is a great excuse for buying a large, lovely tray to carry out all the slices at once!

Cookies are also a good make-ahead option, but make it a mini dessert bar presentation—lemon bars stacked on a small cake stand with some colorful macarons or brownie bites on a plate below. Have pretty cocktail napkins on hand.

A third option is an angel food or bundt cake. Make the presentation special by placing a small bouquet of flowers in the center of the cake. I used a small jam jar as the vase in the photos.

Offer your guest after-dinner coffee/tea and wine. Maybe even pick up a nice port. The trick is to be prepared and have choices but still make it all look casual so they feel comfortable.

Good luck, and happy hosting!

Got a question? Looking for party inspiration? Send an email to hostess @ host-itnotes.com—I'd love to help!


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