Christmas Parties > Figuring Out How Much To Serve

Because most of us don’t cook for big families anymore, knowing how much food to put out doesn’t come naturally. We found some helpful guidelines in “Cooking for Crowds for Dummies” by Dawn and Curt Simmons.

Appetizers without dinner > Plan 12 to 15 pieces per person for each three hours that the party lasts. Set out at least six items, some of which can be “bulk-type” things like dips or spreads.

Assume that one ounce of dip or spread equals one piece. Nuts, olives and little nibbles can add variety. The more variety you have, the less you need to make of each item.

Figure one to two 8-ounce servings of soft drinks or iced tea per person per hour. For punch or coffee, it’s one to two 4-ounce servings.

For wine, figure five glasses to a 750-milliliter bottle, and that each guest will drink two glasses the first hour, then one glass an hour after that. Offer a red and a white, or just sparkling wine, and always offer water.

Fruit nectars blended with still or sparkling water make a refreshing alternative to alcoholic drinks.