How to Cater for a Family Gathering – with Only One Day’s Notice!

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Families: love them or hate them, there are often occasions where everyone gets together to celebrate or commiserate and some poor sap has to provide the food and do most of the hard work. Maybe your Great Aunt Cecilia is in town and you were volunteered to provide the food for a family get-together; or maybe it’s your parent’s wedding anniversary and yours is the only house large enough to host the party.

Whatever the reason, catering for a large group of people is difficult enough, but when you are dropped in it at the very last moment, the task becomes a whole lot more difficult. So what is the solution and how can you ensure everyone has enough to eat and drink?

Catering Photo

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Make a List

They key to successful catering is to be highly organised. Obviously life is a lot harder if you haven’t been given much notice, but as long as you plan it well, you should still be able to put on a fabulous party. Once you know how many people are coming and what time to expect them, start making lists. Consider what food to provide, how much of it you will need, and how long it will take you to prepare it all. And don’t forget the little things such as plates, glasses, cutlery and napkins.

Check for Special Dietary Requirements

There is nothing more annoying than preparing a veritable feast of meaty dishes, only to discover that one of your guests is a vegetarian. They are embarrassed not to have informed you prior to the event and you are panicking because all you have left is a plate of smoked meat Montreal and some pickled onions. To avoid this from spoiling the day, check in advance whether anyone has any special dietary requirements.

Ask for Help

Catering for lots of people is hard work, so don’t be afraid to ask for help. If a particular person dropped you in the mire, make sure they are top of your list. At the very least, they should be around to assist with the food preparation and clearing up after the event. And if they can’t help, make sure they cover some of the cost.

Stick to Cold Cuts and Salad

If you have been given very little notice, it won’t be practical to start preparing dressed lobster or complex haute cuisine dishes. Instead, concentrate on providing simple finger food buffet comprising of cold cooked meats, salads and desserts. This type of food will appeal to most people and if the weather is hot, it means you don’t have to spend hours slaving over a hot stove.

Fire up the BBQ

A useful way of feeding a lot of people quickly is to fire up the BBQ. Steaks, ribs and chicken wings are all tasty and appealing to the most discerning of palates (with the possible exception of vegetarians of course). Prepare some salads to accompany your meat feast, crack open the beers, and you will have a feast fit for kings.

If you don’t have the time or the inclination to cook for lots of people at the eleventh hour, hire outside caterers and take all the credit instead.

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About Kristin

Master reviewer of all types of products. Love XL Fountain Sodas!! Cheer Mom extraordinaire. Socialite to all things small town and founder of Come socialize and connect with me.


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