How NOT to Feed an Army

May 20, 2013 | By | Comments (1)

Party Appetizers Last month I catered a reception for about 30 friends, and made enough to feed an army. More accurately, I made enough to feed a half-starved army of giants with Olympic-sized appetites. It was far, far too much, leaving me with vats of hummus, enough carrot sticks to circle the globe, and enough cheese biscuits to make Paula Dean blush. I could have saved time and money and avoided a painful amount of eventual food waste, if I just planned better.

So, what’s the magic number?

My research shows 6 bites per person (two chips, two mini quiches, etc.), if the event isn’t at mealtime. The bites should be small and portable (you can assume 3 per person for larger bites like mini sandwiches or cake wedges). Some will eat more, some less—receptions call for talking and drinking, mostly—and 6 bites per person tends to even out.

And what do I do with leftovers?Open-Faced Hummus Sandwiches

Leave a batch on your neighbor’s doorstep, then run! Or, you can use dips as sandwich spreads, like these fantastic hummus-based sandwiches. For a quick soup, sauté chopped vegetables from your tray, then simmer with chicken stock, canned tomatoes, fresh herbs and a splash of vinegar.

Check out some of our favorite appetizers. How do you plan for a big party? Let us know in the comments.


  1. Robin Bashinsky

    My general rule of thumb: come up with an amount that ensures in your mind that you won’t under any circumstances run out of food, and then cut that number in half.

    May 21, 2013 at 8:30 am

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