Oftentimes, home cooks want to push everything out at once, especially for family dinners. However, if your guests are going to be around for a while, it’s important to stagger your courses and plan things out. Even for a simple family gathering, you can keep everyone happy and keep the pressure off so you can spend more time enjoying yourself with your loved ones and less time cooking and stressing. Make up some deviled eggs and other finger foods in advance to set out, thus preventing any demands for dinner to be done.
Timing Is Essential For Planning a Multi Course Meal
Consider timing when you’re doing a multi-course meal. One great idea is to alternate between cold and hot courses so that while you’re waiting on something to heat on the range or finish in the oven, everyone can enjoy a salad or cheese plate. Speaking of, a cheese plate is a great emergency backup at any party – if something is taking longer than planned, has caught fire, whatever, have a plate of chopped cheeses and cold cuts in the fridge as an emergency distraction that you can serve up with some crackers. If you don’t end up needing it, you can always serve it as an after dinner snack, or save it – you can always do something good with cheese!
Order Of Appearance
Different sorts of events call for different course structures and number of dishes, and some cultures do courses differently. For example, in Italy, the salad usually comes after the main course, and not before. This, and the serving of anise flavored liqueurs after dinner, is done for digestive reasons. If a palette cleanser is needed between two intense flavors, lemon and bitter greens work wonders for that purpose. There are a lot of ways you can plan your courses to make your life that much easier! If the weather is chilly, a nice hot soup, kept simmering on the stove for a time, can fill in for a cold salad without requiring a great deal of work.
6 Course Meal Order
So a well planned meal might go like this:
- Bread to start off
- A hot appetizer prepped earlier and then heated to serve
- A soup or salad that has been prepped in advance and is largely ready
- The main course, plated up and finished while the salad or soup is keeping everyone busy. The main course will generally be the most time intensive thing
- Coffee or after dinner liqueurs
- Dessert, the coffee and/or liqueurs will buy you some time to really decorate the plates and serve up something that looks special.
You can change up this order or make up one of your own, just be conscious of how long things will take to prepare and plate, and your dinner will be a success!