Why Printing Recipes Is The Ultimate Hosting Trick

Printing out your recipes is a total game changer. Party for 20? Don’t sweat it.

Young Woman Cooking At Home

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There’s a tried and true rule for hosting that one should never cook after guests have arrived. It makes sense. The last thing you need to be doing when guests have descended on your home is whip up a meringue and sweat over a Dutch oven while braising short ribs. That being said, pulling together a party for 20 with all the cooking done ahead of time involves a lot of prep work. Add in a house full of overnight guests and suddenly takeout catering seems like the only logical option. 

This is a situation I find myself in more often than not thanks to being the centrally located home where family from south Alabama and Tennessee tend to gather. Whether it’s a holiday, baptism, or just your average weekend, we’ll have our bedrooms at capacity while also needing to pull together a dinner (or two) for 16. That number goes down quite a bit when you factor in the eight children under eight who would just assume a feast of Publix popcorn chicken, but for the crew of adults still standing, pulling together a meal worthy of the occasion can come with quite a bit of schedule juggling in the days leading up to the big gathering. 

In past years I’ve always been the frazzled hostess. If not still pulling together the spread when everyone has made it in, I’m completely exhausted by the time the party arrives due to the one-woman circus that went into prepping. (Ask me about the time I tried to hit up Costco on December 23 looking for a last-minute standing rib roast.) But during our most recent big-crew get-together, I flipped the script entirely by printing out my recipes ahead of time. It was a total game changer.

The Case For Printing Your Recipes

I’m not knocking this digital age we live in. I love being able to scroll through countless recipes for inspiration—you just can’t beat the convenience—but there’s something about printed recipes that keeps me on task. This was my aim when I printed out a stack of recipes in preparation for a big family dinner later that night. We had a number of guests staying with us, so already there were hands on deck. After getting started on my first hardcopy, one of our overnighters asked what she could do to help. Normally my response goes something like, “Nothing!” or “Why don’t you grab a drink!”—which isn’t so much about not wanting help, but more about not wanting to take the time to walk someone else through my game plan or recipe strategy. On this occasion, though, it dawned on me that I could just pass her a recipe. And so I did. 

The rest of the recipes sat on the counter and more of our company jumped into help. Not only was it fun, but it took a major load off my shoulders. When the rest of the guests arrived, I was relaxed with a cocktail in hand and with the entire food spread ready for devouring. Oh, and of course, Publix Key Lime Pie. Outsourcing the dessert course is a tactic never to be underestimated. 

Hoping the guests jump in to help is a strategy that should only be called on in the appropriate settings, for example, casual gatherings of your nearest and dearest when handling it on your own ahead of time isn’t feasible (particularly if you have a house full of guests staying over). It’s a discretionary tool to be used when the moment and crowd are right, but printing your recipes? Consider it your no-distraction tool that will change the way you cook for a crowd. 

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