If you are getting ready for the holidays or a special celebration, you may be considering presenting your food buffet style. If you have never done that before, then The Buffet Book by Carole Peck with Carolyn Hart Bryant will be a real help to you.
Peck, the chef of the Good News Cafe in northwestern Connecticut, where she also provides catering services for weddings, garden parties, and other such events, has created a cookbook that features “Inspired Ideas for New-Style Entertaining with 175 recipes.” When entertaining large numbers of guests, buffets save time and space, allowing the hosts to mingle with guests instead of having to serve course after course. Peck and her coauthor Carolyn Hart Bryant have devised healthy creative homemade recipes to update standard buffets.
They have lots of tips for cooks contemplating a buffet party; they offer a range of practical advice on providing plates, silverware, comfortable seating arrangements, and more. One interesting reminder she shares is that people do not usually take as large a serving at a buffet as they would at a served meal, and she annotates her recipes as the number of servings for a buffet.
All the recipes are collected within twelve menus, divided up into two large seasonal chapters, Spring / Summer and Autumn / Winter. The division is as much about occasions occurring in this season as it is about seasonality of ingredients. In the spring/summer section, there is a flower garden party menu, a Mediterranean buffet, and an Asian buffet among others. In the fall/winter section, there are holiday buffets, a harvest moonfest, and a soup supper.
Each of the twelve menus starts with a short introduction giving ideas for decorating, and set-up, and almost all of the imaginative recipes include “planning ahead” notes. The recipes are not simple, but they are not extremely difficult, and they feature lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and herbs. If you use these recipes, your guests are bound to be impressed.
Alex McLean’s color photographs should how such buffets could be set up and the types of seasonal props that would work well as centerpieces. My favorite recipes in this book is Peck’s Lemon Chicken Meatballs and her Rolled Oat Crispbread. She wants her buffet foods to be worth standing in line for–and I think they are!
If you are having a large group over, check out this book for great buffet tips and recipes! Enjoy!