I have done it right and I have done it wrong. I’ll start by describing when I have served breakfast for a group in a wrong way: I get up at the crack of dawn and set the table. I start frying bacon literally over a hot stove, resulting in a bedraggled-looking hostess even before anyone ever gets up. I make the pancake batter, and wait until I see “the whites of the guests eyes” before starting to cook them. I run back and forth to the table serving pancakes, and taking a bite or two from my own plate, making everyone feel guilty that I am working so hard and not getting anything to eat. When breakfast is over, I gather the dishes and continue to be deprived of my guests’ company, and they of mine, because I am now cleaning up!
Now I’ll describe when I have done it right. This summer we had the joy of hosting 11 people coming to our home in two RV’s. Two of the guests were friends from long ago, and the others were new acquaintances, and in both cases, I did not want to miss out on spending time with them at breakfast!
So I made the entire breakfast ahead of time, asking friends for ideas. I used all paper and plastic plates, cups and silverware, except for real mugs for hot drinks. Following are are the items that were scattered around the kitchen for adults and children alike to help themselves to:
There was a “yogurt bar” that consisted of a bowl of vanilla yogurt, some healthy granola, fresh fruit, and clear plastic cups to make a beautiful parfait.
Next there was bacon, but this bacon was cooked ahead of time and only warmed that morning. And it was cooked ahead of time in the oven!!! Cooking bacon in the oven is easy. Place a rack (just an oven safe cooling rack is fine) on top of a foil-lined cookie sheet and and pop it in the oven. It doesn’t even splatter and make a mess in there! I recommend 400 degrees for about 25 minutes. Less, if you plan to heat it again the next day.
I also served hard-boiled eggs. Some people may not like hard-boiled eggs for breakfast, but some do, and they are make-ahead, the most important thing! I boiled these eggs ahead of time, but I just read a blog of a fellow-blogger who hard-cooks eggs in the oven! Check it out if you’re interested.
Add some yummy muffins and bagels, along with juice, coffee, and tea, and you have a nice serve-yourself buffet, no dishes to wash, and you as the hostess, are sitting at the table enjoying your guests’ company and they are enjoying yours, which after all, is the most important part of hospitality!
How about you? I’m sure you have served meals for large groups the wrong way and the right way too! Feel free to share your experiences in a comment on this blog.