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How to Never Run Out of Food At Your Party

How to Never Run Out of Food At Your Party


I get it. You're afraid you'll run out of food, but you don't want to be left with 45 pounds of pimento cheese at the end of the night. Math is mostly useless as far as I'm concerned, but today it's fantastic. Here's all you need to know about figuring out what to eat and how much to serve at your next party.

How Much Food Should I Make? 


All you do is multiply. Calculators are very much allowed.


The more people you have, the more choices you'll want, so shoot for about three choices per ten people, and you'll be golden. Fifteen people? Four or five choices. Don't stress about perfect fractions because ew.

Now let's practice:

Let's pretend you're having 20 people over for a Christmas party that will last from 7-10pm. How much food do you make? 

6 (bites) x 20 (people) x 3 (hours) / 6 (choices) = 60 "bites" per recipe

Are you serving sausage balls? You'll need 60. Spinach dip? About 60 scoops' worth. Cookies? 60 if they're small; 30 if they're not. Remember, it's about bites, not full servings.

Don't overthink it. The math always works. Unless you serve something wrapped in bacon; then double it. Bacon transcends math.

What Foods Should I Serve?

Now that you know how much to serve, let's decide what to serve.

Don't be overwhelmed. This is actually helpful. The more parameters you set for yourself, the easier it will be to narrow down what you want to serve. Here are some tips:

  1. You don't have to make everything yourself. Store-bought stuff is fabulous, and you do your thing if you don't want to be a caterer. 
  2. Start with one dish you know you want to serve. Maybe a party isn't a party without your grandmother's famous sausage dip... which is gooey, hot, spicy, and rich. Avoid serving another food that fits all of those categories at the same time, and simply fill in the blanks!
  3. Please for the love make sure at least half of what you make can be done ahead of time. When your friends arrive, you don't want to be in the middle of a zillion things, stressed out, and then forced to disappear with a bottle of wine. Make it easy on yourself by choosing foods that can be made hours or even days before, or at least ready to simply pop into the oven when the time is right.

That's it! So much depends on the time of day, the mood of the party, and how sane you feel planning it. But I promise that arming yourself with this simple approach - math and all - will remove all the guesswork and make the whole process fun again. 

Do you have a go-to party recipe?

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