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SUMMER ENTERTAINING: WHEN EVERY MAN AND HIS DOG TURNS UP

Must Have’s and Must Do’s to survive as a Summer Entertaining Host – writer Susie Campbell brings relief to this juggernaut of social activity

Most Aussies will know all too well, the feeling of apprehension when the in-laws, friends, the overseas relatives, or the neighbours collectively choose to nominate you as this year’s holiday host, especially during the Australian Summer.

The realisation is, it’s time to start planning for an outdoor gathering to leave your guests talking about long after the event and for all the right reasons.

Although the initial reaction for a first time host might be, ‘this will be fun,’ for countless others, with less than fond memories of entertaining, the next thought turns to the how, where will I seat them all, what will I feed them and how will I manage to do this by myself and not lose my sanity and actually enjoy the day?

But with some simple preparation and some savvy equipment choices, the special day can be stress-free and enjoyable for guests and hosts alike. Lists are essential.

And so too are the right tools and equipment for the job, explained Carrie Bruce, the wife of husband and wife team, SustainaPod by VerdeLife, Australia’s only sustainable, modular outdoor kitchen design and manufacturer.

“When we set about designing our kitchens, it was all about the environment but also, cabinetry that was fit for today’s family and busy lifestyles. Looks are important but as a busy mum and with a love of entertaining, I knew how important functionality is.

“An outdoor kitchen should replace your indoor kitchen and allow you to gather all your food and utensils together in one place, allowing the chef and their helpers, to prep, cook and serve, with ease. No more backwards and forwards indoors, having to use your indoor oven as back up, or having to prep indoors and ferry everything back outside!

Thanksgiving-Turkey - entertaining
Thanksgiving-Turkey – entertaining outdoors with SustainaPod

“More time to be the relaxed host and having space to spread out and easily clean up makes such a difference as a host,” says Carrie.

Dan Bruce, the designer and craftsman behind SustainaPod explained:

“It was because of our desire to make functional cabinetry that could cater for families and those loving to entertain for large groups, that we knew we needed a BBQ robust enough to cope and so teamed up with Weber Australia and New Zealand to currently house the Weber Q Built-In which can serve up to 12 easily and roast a 6 kg turkey effortlessly.

“Perfect for summer gatherings,” says Dan.

As well as the right outdoor furniture, there are other considerations that can assist in ensuring smooth, stress-free entertaining;

  • Establish the number of guests, both adults and children and any dietary requirements.
  • If entertaining kids, consider biodegradable plates so the can take off to the cubby or lawn with no risk of smashed crockery.
  • Ensure sufficient seating options – picnic mats and beanbags can be a low cost alternative and ideal if children are attending, or perhaps ask a neighbour if you can borrow. Consider hiring glassware from your local Bottle Shop to ensure you have sufficient glasses avoiding the need to be washing up during the party.
  • Decide if guests are to contribute by bringing alcohol, meat, and deserts and if so, write your menu and allocate, ticking off as each contribution arrives.
  • Set the arrival time and be prepared for happy guests to linger into the evening and consider providing throws and adding candles or solar lighting, to shift the mood from day to night.
  • Stock a bar cart with essentials: glasses, plates, ice, a cocktail shaker so that guests can help themselves.

Planning ahead and keeping things simple by providing ways for guests to help themselves top-up and relax, is key to successful entertaining and being able to enjoy the party too!

This story appeared first on Media Connections.
(Writer, Susie Campbell is a serial networker and strong advocate of professional alliances.)

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