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Entertaining Tip: Labeling Serving Dishes

Entertaining Good Things 2005, Holiday 2005

Seasoned hosts know that in order to entertain successfully, you need to rely on a few time-saving tricks.

When deciding on which dishes to use, set out an assortment of pieces to determine which go best with the food being served as well as with the rest of your table setting. Place a slip of paper on each, noting its assigned role, and add the proper utensils. The labels will assist any host's helpers in carrying out the plans, too.

Comments (19)

  • 16 Oct, 2010

    I've been doing this for years - It really helps me not to panic at the last minute. I also set my table days ahead of time..I turn everything upside down (glasses, plates, etc.) - This way I can concentrate on the star attraction - the FOOD !

  • 16 Oct, 2010

    I've been doing this for years - It really helps me not to panic at the last minute. I also set my table days ahead of time..I turn everything upside down (glasses, plates, etc.) - This way I can concentrate on the star attraction - the FOOD !

  • 3 Oct, 2010

    Orah ?

  • 2 Oct, 2010

    Another use for post-it notes, when done stash them in your cookbook for the next time.

  • 2 Oct, 2010

    Whenever it?

  • 2 Oct, 2010

    Been doing this for years...Just makes it easier to get food in rght dish, and perfect for buffet style serviing.

  • 2 Oct, 2010

    Thanksgiving is my big "cook day" of the year. To avoid spending all morning in the kitchen, I set up a time schedule showing when each dish should be started. I avoid forgetting anything, but more importantly, I get to watch part of the parade that morning with my family and feel more relaxed that everything is under control.

  • 1 Oct, 2010

    I've been doing this for years (after forgetting a very large salad in the refrigerator one holiday!) It also helps to label some dishes and put out serving pieces for those items someone else is bringing to the meal, just in case they don't bring it in a serving dish!

  • 1 Oct, 2010

    First read this tip years ago in one of Martha's magazines and have done it ever since. Simple and elegant and makes everything go smoothly. Even better, it's quite soothing knowing you've got this part under control, which is an added bonus.

  • 1 Oct, 2010

    I believe just the simple act of also laying out the serving utensils will be helpful. How many times do we have to jump up from the table for a spoon etc?

  • 1 Oct, 2010

    Great sensible idea. Why didn't I think of this?!

  • 1 Oct, 2010

    My mother always lays out the table in such a way--with labels and the specific silver serving pieces the night before. Labels in the dishes also prevent her from "forgetting" something. I do think the comment about putting a sheet over the already set table, to deter cats from roaming on the table is excellent.

  • 1 Oct, 2010

    Sounds like it would be a good idea to put them away with labels tucked in to save time next year, too.

  • 1 Oct, 2010

    Hey, guys, I do this too! Helps also to know what matches and to figure out what serving utensils you have available for each dish. I have cats so I wash and put the labelled serving piece on the table the night before, then cover everything overnight with a clean tablecloth or bed linen -- just-to-make-sure!

  • 1 Oct, 2010

    oh - numbers changed - I should say I ditto joniken and joduluth. sorry...

  • 1 Oct, 2010

    I ditto posts 1 and 2, I've been doing this for years. It's a great way to be sure everything is accounted for and ready to go - and clean too! Especialy if a piece has beeen sitting in the cabinet for quite some time. And people thought I was goofy for doing this...

  • 1 Oct, 2010

    I ditto posts 1

  • 1 Oct, 2010

    Since we entertain a lot, especially during the hoildays, I have been doing this for years. It really helps when hosting a large sit down supper.

  • 1 Oct, 2010

    I thought I was the only one that did this! Good to know there are others out there that are a little OVER organized!