How to Entertain Safely During the Pandemic
During this weird, wild year, you may feel that all the traditional rules for entertaining guests have gone out the window.
But don’t fret. You can still safely host your friends and loved ones this year by getting creative with your catering and following a few precautions.
By following the CDC guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and making individual portions the main focus of your menu, you can still host a get-together that’s sure to be a success.
Serve Individual Portions
The easiest and most effective way to ensure everything is sanitary for your guests is to provide individually-wrapped treats and snacks. From single servings of guacamole and hummus for cocktail party grazing to jelly packets for a high tea, you can find Individual portions of almost anything at catering supply stores.
Now is also not the time to be passing around bottles of mustard or bowls of dipping sauce either, so be sure to buy single-servings of condiments like ketchup, soy sauce, mayonnaise, hot sauce, and whatever else you need. You can place the individually-wrapped condiments at the food station or the seating area.
Make Big Batches
Meals you can make in big batches and serve family-style are easy to portion out for your guests – and they are safe with a few safety tweaks.
You can make a pot of spaghetti, paella, chili, soup, or anything else you would usually make in a big batch – but instead of serving it family-style, portion it into individual dishes like ramekins or disposable containers. If cooking isn’t your thing, you can also buy big portions of food from takeout joints or restaurants and portion that.
Be Creative with Containers
While serving portions of food in disposable or individual containers is recommended, don’t let that stop you from getting more creative with what containers you can use.
Have a look at what other household items you could serve guests out of to keep them safe – like shot glasses for individual dips, plastic spoons for bite-sized party foods, or cupcake wrappers for crackers or condiments.
The goal here is to serve what you would normally put in larger sharing bowls or platters in smaller, individually-portioned containers to prevent your guests from sharing utensils and crockery.
Prep in Mason Jars
If you usually prepare your cold party food in advance, buying a set of mason jars is worth it. You can use them to store food safely in the fridge for days. You can fill them with cold party food like coleslaw, pasta salad, dip and vegetable fingers, salads, or anything else that involves layers.
Aside from keeping food sealed and safe, mason jars make for a beautiful presentation. When your guests arrive, all you have to do is whip your pre-made jars out!
While cooking hotdogs and burgers on the grill can be done safely, rather opt for something that can be served on a skewer. Seafood, vegetable, and meat skewers can be prepped ahead of time, grilled for a few minutes, and served quickly – without a horde of hungry guests lining up to assemble their burgers and butter their buns.
Skewers also work well for other snacks – think Caprese skewers, fruit salad, shrimp cocktail, and more. Skewers are safer because guests can grab a few and go.
Go for Bite-Sized Snacks
Finger food is probably the option when it comes to serving single-portion snacks because they portion themselves out. You can prepare a sumptuous platter of bite-sized snacks in advance and go around with a tray when everyone’s ready to eat.
Think taquitos, dumplings, spring rolls, pigs-in-a-blanket, miniature tarts, mini pizzas, and tiny quiches. You can keep everything warm in the oven and bring them out when it’s time to plate up.
Cold finger foods like deviled eggs, finger sandwiches, mini bruschetta, summer rolls, and sushi also work wonders. When figuring out how many bites to serve, expect around five pieces per person.
Lay Out a Sheet Pan
Serving food on a sheet tray makes for an attractive display when you use it as a charcuterie board, and it’s safe for social distancing because it works best outside.
Chill your sheet pans and make a beautiful spread of cheeses, crackers, fresh vegetables, hummus dip, mezze, and fresh fruit.
Food as its Own Vessel
Serving food out of fun vessels such as bread bowls, coconuts, hollowed-out watermelons or avocado halves, and other dishes you can make is a delightful way to serve food.
Not only does it amp up the presentation, but it also reduces the amount of unnecessary single-use plastics and keeps your favorite plates clean. As a bonus, bowls made from food are environmentally friendly and can be composted when everyone’s finished using them.