One day, friends invited us over for lunch. We were all young parents with multiple kids. Every time you began a conversation, it seemed that something was spilled or a band-aid was required or someone needed to go potty or was inserting a choking hazard into their mouth. Babies crawled and rolled underfoot while toddlers tantrummed and struggled to share toys they had never cared about before. It was equal parts chaos and everyday normal and I wondered, how on earth would lunch be served in this madness?
Amazingly, we sat down to a table already set with dishes and utensils. In the center lay a beautiful carrot ginger soup, thick with cream and dotted with black pepper. There was also a loaf of thickly sliced country bread served alongside mustard and mayonnaise. From the fridge, our hostess whisked out two platters: one filled with lettuce, sliced tomatoes, and sliced red onions, and the other filled with different cold cuts and cheeses, folded and arranged in an eye-pleasing pattern.
All that remained was removing the plastic film off the platters and ladling up the soup. We made our own sandwiches and pleasantly enjoyed lunch together.
That meal, especially that cold cut platter, was a revelation to me. What an easy way to entertain! How fun to make your own sandwich! Why hadn’t I thought of this sooner?
Since then, I’ve served this kind of meal over and over again to guests. The variations are endless. And it’s so easy! Seriously, people have been deeply impressed and I literally folded up cold cuts, cut up tomatoes, arranged bread into a basket, and took out the mayo and mustard from the fridge.
For sides, you can add a salad, soup, or a fruit platter. It really depends on the season and occasion, I think. But you can also make it easy and spill open a big bag of chips into a bowl. If they are good chips (aka the crunchy, kettle-cooked kind) and you use a tablecloth, it will feel fancy and festive.
Above, you can see a variation I made for 10 people. I arranged cold cuts and cheese on one platter, smoked salmon and capers on another. I sliced up cucumbers, tomatoes, and red onions. I also served cream cheese, mayo, and mustard alongside a fruit platter. Not pictured are the bagels I picked up that morning.
We’ve all succumbed to this idea that hosting a meal is beyond our abilities. But you know what? Your house doesn’t have to be super clean, just clean enough. And at the end of the day, no one really cares about the food you serve. They are just grateful someone else is hosting instead of them.
Use this easy method for hosting and your life will be transformed. It did for me and it will for you too!