Food Figuring Guide, How Much is Enough?
By Sharon Ng
When hosting a party, the last thing you want (aside from 16 year old girls getting into a cat fight-welcome to my sweet 16 birthday party), is to run out of food. This list will help you to know how much food to prepare. Keep in mind that amounts are subjective, and actual amounts will vary depending on the type of party, type of menu, and who you are feeding (like 16 year old girls, or worse, boys). The old rule of thumb is averaging one lb. of food per person, figuring that average is difficult however when you divide it up into all the parts of your meal (1 lb is for a meal). The following are suggestions to help you make sure you have enough food to serve your guests. No one wants to have to run to the store, unless you have a house full of 16 year old girls.... And then you might be tempted... just kidding... not really...
Let's start with appetizers as an example. If you are doing an appetizer only, and not doing a full menu, you will want to prepare more appetizers and perhaps several types. The Party Planning Guide suggests, "On average, your guests will consume 5 hors d'oeuvres per person per hour for the first 2 hours and 3 per person per hour for each additional hour. So for a 3-hour long party of 10 people, you will need to prepare about 130 appetizers, a little less if the party is to be followed by a meal."
If you are preparing a cheese plate, figure about an ounce per person and remember that if you have several kinds of cheese, you can divide those ounces in total cheese (if you have two types of cheese to serve, figure half an ounce per person, of each type).
If you are serving pizza figure about 3 pieces per person. Remember to take into account that if your guests are all adults, you may want to provide more. The following chart provides guestimates for a meal type menu plan and popular party foods, and figures per person.
This list is just a cheat sheet for amounts. Keep in mind your guests may eat more or less. If you are figuring for half of the BYU football team to arrive as an example, then you may want to make adjustments (I think some of those guys can eat a whole pizza alone). Guests may hit the sweets hard, or may skip appetizers all together. Using Cook'n software is a simple way to double or even triple recipes for parties and get togethers. Erring on the side of caution is always a safe bet when preparing food for guests.
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