I’m not going to kid you, this party is a lot of work (and a whole lot of fun…), so if you have the resources, be sure to line up a helper! My “employer” purchases plane tickets well in advance, so as to get the best deal. She figures the money spent on a plane ticket is well worth her peace of mind!
Before my arrival (like TWO MONTHS before), she starts to cook stuff that freezes – pumpkin soup, beef stew, pumpkin mole, cheesecakes… By starting several weeks ahead, she can just plan to cook one item for the party each weekend, and not make herself crazy. Again, if you like to watch TV, you can be cooking while watching the toob!
My part comes in a week to a week and a half before the party. Flying into Phoenix (I am not complaining!), maybe taking a day to settle in, then diving into a week’s worth of food prep!
Usually 40+ invites go out for this monster of a party, and attendance averages 40 adults, 18 kids (at the high end, 50 adults, 24 kids). Food ranges from kid-friendly to adult-friendly, as do the beverages -- 10 appetizers, a rotating cast of 4 or so entrees, 6 or so sides, and an impressive 10 desserts! Plus a variety of beverages, “spirited” (with alcohol) and “unspirited” (without), including a spooky sangria, and a “witch’s brew.”
I usually just follow the boss’s lead. I have a stack of recipes to go through, most are already arranged by day to accomplish, depending on what can be prepared ahead, and what has to be made the day before or the day of. Some cakes and cheesecakes can be made ahead of time and frozen. Fresher things like the Texas Chainslaw Massacre or shrimp ceviche, have to be made the day of or they will not hold up.
Also, parts of recipes can be pre-made, even if the recipe as a whole needs to be made day before or day of! So, for this week, I will be preparing all these delicious tidbits, and next week, I will show you our progress, lots of pictures, and let you know more about how all of this comes together! See you next week!