Having friends over for a cookout is practically a rite of passage for homeowners. Who needs curtains, when you have a BBQ on the patio? Sure, the wife may want all of the pretties out before anyone comes over, but there are ways to compromise and still entertain. Here are some pointers for keeping our house presentable when serving guests.
At the very least, you need a grill on the back patio. Some people have an entire kitchen outside, providing a very handy way to cook and entertain without getting the house dirty. With a grill, though, you can not only prepare BBQ for your guests, you can prepare many of the side dishes, as well, depending on the size of your grill.
Rather than having mashed potatoes with the meal, puncture the potatoes, coat them with olive oil and garlic salt, wrap them in foil, and cook them on the grill with the main entrée.
Grilled asparagus is another great dish. Coat the asparagus with olive oil and sprinkle on sea salt and grated Parmesan cheese. A small mixing bowl of water set on the foil beside the asparagus will help keep it from drying out.
Most people congregate in the kitchen when there is a get together. However, when you are grilling, the guests will want to congregate around you, outside. That’s one of the reasons that cooking all of the items on the grill is so appealing – it gives the guests a chance to hang out with you, and keeps the house tidy.
Having enough quality lounge furniture may be the send most important factor to successful entertaining, next to the grill. Outdoor dining is easier if the guests have a table top to hold their plates, but you can also use seating walls and large, upturned planters with cushions for seating or for dining spaces.
Clean the cushions to your lounge furniture a week ahead of time, so that you are not rushed on the evening of your party. Once they are clean, keep them that way by storing them indoors or in the boot of your car until you need them. It’s sort of like the wife, keeping guest towels put up until there are actually guests in the house. Only, cushions are bigger.
Keeping the House Tidy
When you are serving guests outside, it helps to provide plenty of visual clues to guide them straight outdoors when they arrive. It’s not unusual to rearrange furniture in the pass-through room so that there are no obstructions to traffic. This can be as simple as turning the oval dining table the other direction, leaving room for people to walk on past.
Have the serving pieces out several days before, so that you know what you have. It will save clutter and panic the night of the event, and you won’t have the mess of packing materials that could be a problem.
By planning and working ahead of time, you can serve your guests and keep your home tidy, too.