Consider Doing a Buffet
“With so many different food preferences these days,” Mayhew explains, “people often like to put together their own plate.” Choose things that can be eaten on a plate on someone’s lap with just a fork, no knife required—chopped salad instead of a leafy one, for instance, or a chicken curry instead of whole breasts. Including a hearty vegetable dish ensures that vegetarians will be well fed, too.
Assign Seating for Sit-Down Dinner
“A friend of mine says, ‘Six seats itself—after that, forget it, you need to do place settings,’” Mayhew says. Save beautifully calligraphed place cards as treasured mementos of your events.
Predetermine Your Drop-Dead Timing
“Even if you’re still waiting for someone who’s running late to arrive, there comes a time when you have to serve the food,” Mayhew says. “Have it in your head what the absolute latest is that you’ll start serving.”
Embrace Room Temperature
It’s impossible to cook everything at once—and it’s also not necessary. “Many things are actually more delicious at room temperature,” Mayhew says. “I don’t stress about everything being piping hot.”