Are you like me? I have a hard time staying up New Year’s Eve. Larry is also a geezer, there I said it. Rarely do we see midnight. Parties? A LOT of hours ‘til the stroke of 12. But a few years back, we threw a cooking party that our guests still rave was THE BEST way to ring in the New Year.
No worries if someone is not a GOOD COOK. Enthusiasm grows with teamwork; there’s always prep that non-cooks can do. It’s the fact that we are all involved, mixing it up with friends, hours of conversation, laughs and bonding, and staying awake! Here is the evening:
- Four couples (or singles, but 8 total) – you run out of space otherwise
- Arrival time 6 PM – each couple brings a bottle of wine or champagne, plus their wallet
- Put all 8 names into a hat, pull out pairs (couples are not paired with their partner, less stress, believe me)
- Next drawing, each team pulls: Appetizer, Side Dish/Salad, Main Entree, or Dessert
- Make recipe books available for teams to plan their dish and grocery list
- Now, pile into cars and go to the store (this part might be tough in some towns, but in LA, plenty are open New Years Eve). All groceries paid via ONE tab, end of the evening, everyone reimburses equally split
- Back home around 8:30 PM, start cooking. We divvied into four stations: 2 teams in the kitchen, 1 team at outdoor grill (LA weather), 1 team used the bar counter and sink, which worked fine
- First course is maybe 9:15 PM, with dessert by midnight. Or earlier. Or later, kind of doesn’t matter!
- Wine throughout the evening. Champagne at midnight. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1… HAPPY NEW YEAR!
- Eight people can clean up pretty darn quickly, too.
* for areas with no grocery store open, or really bad weather, try a Secret Box. Host buys a bunch of groceries in anticipation of the party OR each couple brings a box of ingredients, and teams pick from all the goods brought, Top Chef style.
Happy New Year to my readers… and leave a comment telling about cooking parties you have attended!