People do tend to congregate where the food is so use this to your advantage and spread the drinks and snacks around the key room locations. Some rooms may not be conducive to a convenient delivery of food or drink so consider that and don't force the issue unless absolutely necessary. We have a party table for the cold drinks and ice bucket. A card table is just the right size for the coffee urn, cups, sugar and creamer choices. The kitchen table is used for the heated snacks (from stove to table is quicker than elsewhere). The porch table is used for the cold snacks, chips and dips, fruit, etc.
The dining room table is converted to be the buffet table and is prepared with a table cloth and center piece. Starting at one corner, located nearest the main entry point to the room are the plates, napkins and silverware. Coincidently, that corner also ends the round so if napkins or silverware were forgotten on the first pass, they can be obtained easily before leaving the room or cutting back into the line. Arrayed around the table are the foods in some order that makes sense. Generally, the cold foods are found first (salads, then sandwiches, and rolls with the condiments) followed by the hot foods either on a platter or server on a hot plate or candle light warmer.
Having made the menu, small pieces of paper can be put into each position around the table to mark the placement of the food. This is good for a few reasons:
- confirms that all items will have a place on the table
- confirms that all items should make it to the table (hey, there's a note here for potato salad?)
- saves explanation of where to put the dish if someone comes in to help at the last minute (if you have the potato salad, find the slip and that's where it goes!).
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