Spring Gatherings: Hosting Tips

Whether you opt for potlucks, buffets, detailed menus by course or a hybrid of all three, it’s not only possible to host fuss-free gatherings – it’s encouraged! Relaxed hosting is the spring thing – so get pointers on simple tulip arrangements and some spring-y ideas for baking for brunches and beyond.

Relaxed Hosting

Looking for a few ways to lighten your entertaining load? Here are our top suggestions for which cooking tasks to take on yourself and which to outsource.

  • Invest Your Time in One Star Dish. Choose a main dish, appetizer or even a cocktail to be the star of your party and keep the rest simple.
  • Buy a Side, Add a Twist. Buy one or more ready-made side dishes like roast potatoes or a grain salad and add an easy personal touch like fresh herbs or dried fruit and nuts.
  • Try Ready-to-Bake Bread. Nothing beats the flavor and aroma fresh bread, and baking up a loaf or two of frozen, pre-formed dough couldn’t be easier.
  • Do a Cheese Course. It’s a crowd-pleaser and plating up your selection of cheeses can be done in minutes. Ask our cheesemongers for samples and suggestions!
  • Delegate Dessert. Unless you’re a dedicated baker, pick up a delicious fresh-baked dessert or, better yet, let an enthusiastic guest bring one.

Simple Tulip Arrangements

Tulip arrangements are never the same two days in a row. Their graceful arching stems continue to grow and bend toward the light even after they are cut.

How to Get the Most from Your Fresh Cut Tulips

  • Look for color. Buy blooms that have developed color but are still tightly closed.
  • Prep the flowers. Wrap the whole bunch tightly in paper, cut the stem ends on an angle and place in clean, cold water. Let them condition this way in a cool (or cold) spot for a couple hours before arranging.
  • Use a tall vase. This helps to support the long stems. Make sure the vase is absolutely clean.
  • Use fresh, cold water with no additives. That means no pennies, sugar, lemon-lime soda, aspirin or (gasp) bleach! All tulips need is fresh, cold water, preferably not treated by a water conditioner.
  • Arrange your flowers. Remove any leaves that fall below the water line. Remember that they will grow taller. Place your arrangement in a cool spot, away from heat and bright light.

Spring Baking For Brunches And Beyond

Bright flavors and simple recipes are what spring baking is all about. Here are some of our favorite ideas for seasonal celebrations.

Spring Etiquette Tip number 5 - serve from the right, pass to the left - or line up behind the person who knows the buffet best