Are you having a Christmas party this year? Follow these dos and don’ts | Food

We’re so ready to party, and in case the long lockdown makes us nervous about entertaining again, two experienced Lancaster hosts are here to help.

First up is John Moeller, White House chef for three presidencies and now owner of Greenfield Restaurant and Catering, as well as an enthusiastic home host for family and friends. Then there’s Donna Landis, who never shies away from throwing a party, whether it’s for a crowd of members of Lancaster Newcomers & Neighbors, the women’s group she co-founded in the 1990s, or for her own. big family.

The two warn not to stress out at a party. It’s meant to be fun, for the guests and for you.

Therefore, NOT obsessed with details, and, for heaven’s sake, NOT drink too much before and during the party, says Moeller.

NOT try to make all Pinterest perfect. Instead of TO DO focus on the things that bring you the most joy, whether it’s cooking or beautifying the home. If, for example, you like to create a pretty centerpiece, TO DO so, but NOT annoy the guests with a long story of how you did it.

NOT exhaust yourself cleaning the house before a party. Pick up, yes, but guests really won’t care about that stack of mail on the desk or the toys your little one occupied while you freakin ‘eggs.

TO DO Be aware of customer tastes when it comes to food, religious dietary restrictions and allergies, Moeller warns.

“I had to do this every time dignitaries came down to the White House, but it’s also a valid concern for the original host,” he says.

Landis agrees. “I always make sure there is a mix of foods for all tastes and restrictions,” she says. “I include dishes that vegetarians and gluten-free enthusiasts can enjoy, and I make sure there are alternatives for those who don’t eat seafood.”

TO DO focus on hospitality, making your guests feel welcome. Guests don’t need to be impressed. They need to feel a connection, says Landis, laughing as he recounts some of his coasting nights.

“I threw parties in the yard, the garage, even in the basement,” she says.

For Thanksgiving this year, she had planned to set up three tables: one in the kitchen, one in the dining room, and one in the living room. Paper plates are one option to cut down on dishes, she says.

NOT the feeling that everything has to be the best of the best, ”says Landis. “This is what keeps you from entertaining more often. TO DO feel free to serve something off the shelf and TO DO be receptive when guests offer to bring something, but be sure to keep track of what they plan to bring. You NOT need 30 plates of cookies. The more control you have, the better the party.

Of course, a great chef like Moeller offers dietary advice.

NOT try a new recipe when you have guests, ”he says. “Unless you’re an accomplished cook. Using proven recipes will help you feel confident and make sure you don’t have any mishaps. TO DO try to cook as much as possible before the party, so all you have to do is heat things up and add the finishing touches.

Landis agrees. She enjoys making meals that she can simply put in the oven at party time. And TO DO be flexible, she said. Food doesn’t always have to be fancy. NOT do all the recipes that require a lot of hands-on time. You want your guests to have energy left over. And if something’s wrong with dinner, go for it. Improvise, or if that doesn’t work, order a pizza. TO DO laugh and move on.

If it’s not a sit-down dinner, NOT place the food in the same place. TO DO set up at least two catering stations, preferably on opposite sides of a room, says Moeller. A line of food at a party is not a good thing. As part of a cocktail party, place the food in plenty of places for people to move and mingle.

Ultimately, TO DO keep the conversation civil.

“The golden rule with us is not to talk about politics or religion,” says Landis. “And NOT talk too much about you. You will look a lot more interesting if you get your guests talking. TO DO ask them lots of questions, remember their answers, and then ask them follow-up questions, such as “So what’s next on your vacation list?” “”

Moeller fully agrees.

NOT talk about politics, ”he says, adding that you really don’t need a definite topic.

“After long lockdowns and COVID separations, there will be a lot to talk about, just catching up.”

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