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Hosting a cooking party allows guests to participate in food preparation together in the same kitchen. There are many types of cooking parties, such as a dinner for couples, a kids' birthday party or a get together for a group such as a homeschooling association. The best tips for having a successful cooking party include proper planning and setting an encouraging tone.
Although learning to cook is a primary goal at a cooking party, the emphasis should be on supportive, enjoyable social interaction while teaching others how to make the recipes. After all, it is a party and not a school credit course. By inspiring and motivating people through interesting, yet easy recipes that are fun to make, even non-cooks can be encouraged to learn the basics of cooking. Hosts should choose recipes that suit party participants, both in terms of skill level and food preferences. Gourmet cooking gatherings for more experienced cooks should feature challenging, yet not overly time-consuming recipes.
If the cooking party is for children, a simple meal such as pizza and salad with an easy to make dessert can be a good choice. Cooking parties work well at children's birthdays as long as the directions are clear and the food to make is interesting. The ages and abilities of the children should be considered so the recipes are neither too frustrating nor too simple. The birthday child is likely to have a good idea of the foods his or her friends might like to prepare as well as eat.
Proper party planning includes making clear invitations that outline exactly what each guest should bring to the party as well as the overall menu. Adding a telephone number as well as an email address for guests' questions is a good idea so the host has time well before the party date to answer back. The host may also need time to make changes in his or her cooking party plan, such as substituting ingredients for a guest with an allergy.
The host of a cooking party should always have a clear plan while expecting to have to make some changes even at the last minute. Adequate work space for each guest, enough cooking equipment and an area where all of the guests can see the host's cooking demonstrations should be organized ahead of time. Cleanup should also be planned, such as having extra garbage containers available.
At my daughter's 13th birthday party the girls who slept over got to create some fun in the kitchen after the swimming and crafts outside.
We made sweet and savory sushi roll-ups and the girls fell in love with the cooking party favors. They all took home little items that they could use later to make some of the same dishes they learned how to make at the party.
They took home little sushi mats, recipes for sweet and savory sushi, cookie cutters, and muffin tins. They all had a great time filming and photographing each other and posting all the fun on their facebook pages.
Younger children do really well at a cooking party for kids as long as the ingredients are well laid out and organized. We went to a cooking party for 8-10 year old children and they made original pizzas. Everyone got to put the ingredients they loved on each pizza. Tasting their own pizza and then sharing with others was really eye opening for them. Some kids realized for the first time that they loved mushrooms or red bell peppers.
Making a pizza dessert was an easy transition and everyone seemed to love the options and were more open than usual to trying out new flavors.
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