Most people underestimate the importance of regimented shopping when it comes to throwing a party. However, that is a big, big, mistake. Too often, potentially fantastic parties have collapsed in the face of unorganized shopping, as the host and hostess make frantic last-minute dashes to the supermarket to buy some essential but forgotten item, only to find that its out of stock. That is why we recommend that you prepare a shopping checklist if you are throwing a party, to minimize last-minute disasters. Heres what you should do:
· Carefully go through all the recipes you will be cooking from, to find out the ingredients you will need. Some of them may be stored in your larder, but you will certainly need to shop for others
· Keep a notepad and pencil with you as you go through the recipes, and make notes of everything that you will need
· When it comes to beverages, make a list of what you will need based on your guest list and after checking the contents of your cellar
· For table decoration, party goods, favors, etc., make a separate list based on the occasion. For example, for a birthday party, you will have to have balloons, candles, streamers, party hats, sequins, confetti, etc. If all that you want is not available at the supermarket, make a note of where you plan to buy from
· If you need additional decorations like fresh or dried flowers, list them and add a note about when and where to buy them. Dont go buying fresh flowers in the early morning for an evening party, for instance
· If theres anything on your list that needs to be purchased fresh, such as desserts or fresh fruits, make a note of that too
· As far as possible, shop for items other than the last-minute ones on one day. Staggered shopping will merely increase the chances of your forgetting things
· Once your list has all the items you will need, also add the quantities of each item that you mean to buy. When shopping for food, for example, you need to have a clear idea of exactly how many guests you expect, how many dishes there are on your menu and the portions of each dish that an average guest will consume. Too many hosts tend to buy too little or too much of a particular item, not having calculated the quantities beforehand.
· When shopping for general supplies, write out the name of each item individually instead of just writing general supplies. So, depending on your requirement, your list ought to separately list items like candles/matches/lighters, plates, knives, spoons, forks, placemats, centerpieces, etc.
· Similarly, for cooking ingredients, instead of writing condiments, list each one separately. Or instead of writing just fruits, list apples, cherries, raisins, etc one by one. That way, you never have to wrack your brains at the supermarket trying to remember exactly which fruits your dessert recipe specifies.