It’s March Madness once again. I’ll never forget the look on my husband’s face last year when he walked in the door after watching the championship game. His team had won, yet all I saw was defeat, exhaustion, disappointment and …was it hunger? Our neighbor had invited 5 of “the guys” over to watch the big game. My husband, who usually doesn’t live and breath March Madness, decided, sure, it’s a good guy-thing to do, should be fun to hang a bit, drink a little beer, eat a bunch of food and watch a good game. I guess Fritos and bean dip was the best his friend could come up with! Why four grown men did not have the courage to say, “hey, this is ridiculous, I’m hungry, let’s order a pizza” I will never know.
Well, March Madness should be all about basketball and not about going hungry. Honestly, it doesn’t take much work to pull together some tasty and relatively healthy food for the big game. Aside from saying… go to Costco – they have everything you need….here are my “three–pointers” for entertaining:
Point 1 – Always have enough food – The best parties are the ones where the food lasts for the entire night. Not much fun showing up an hour into a party and seeing only a few whole grain crackers left in a bowl! It is always easier to have smaller amounts of several different kinds of food, than it is to have a lot of one kind of food. That way if you have leftovers, it is pretty simple to store in your refrigerator or pantry for the next get together. Try to have a protein – we’re talking meat – available too, not just carbs.
Point 2 – Have a variety of drinks – Remember, just because you like wheat beer, doesn’t mean everyone likes wheat beer. Find a mainstream beer, or make it fun and get a wide variety of beer and make it an informal beer-tasting event too. I always have a white wine on hand for those who don’t feel like having beer, or like me, never acquired a taste for beer. Again, pick a wine that is balanced between dry and sweet, like a Pinot Grigio (please no more Chardonnay). And finally, keep in mind some folks may not want to drink alcohol, so always have water, soda or lemonade available.
Point 3 – Presentation matters – With very little effort you can make chips and salsa look like a fancy party! Put your chips in a fun basket, display appetizers on a unique cutting board or serving board, add olives or nuts in a few colorful bowls, and drape your serving area with a decorative placemat or tablecloth to pull it all together.
This March Madness, I suspect we will be entertaining. My husband, who I consider just shy of “a chef” will surely want to whip together some special appetizers. And I will do what I do, which is clean the house, do the shopping, and get all my serving pieces out of the cupboard to entertain with style!