Korean BBQ Tacos. Indian Tandoori Chicken. Shawarma. I must confess: I love trying new things…except when it comes to food. The idea of spending (possibly wasting) good money on food I may or may not like does not sit well with me. The solution? A multicultural food swap! A food swap allows you and your friends to sample an array of foods without committing to the cooking time or the expense of ingredients you may never use again. Read on for some great food-swapping tips…
1) Push that culinary envelope
Exotic Foods? Yes!!! Unusual Cuts of Meat? Definitely!! I once had an oxtail stew that was slow-cooked to tender, savory perfection. Obviously, not every entree on the table will be daring. But, everyone should walk away from your food swap excited about having tried something new.
2) Have your cake and eat it too!
At the swap, give your guests a chance to sample the food. A food swap becomes more enjoyable when you’re eating while you’re swapping!
3) How many is too many…or too little?
The number of guests depends on you. Invite only as many guests as you can comfortably seat and entertain. Once you have finalized the guest list, inform your guests of how many people will be at the party. This will help your friends know how much to cook. And don’t set the expectation too high when it comes to portion size. Inform the guests that swapping portions as small as a helping is acceptable.
4) Are those edible sporks?
For the friends who think bringing the plastic dinnerware is a major contribution, emphasize that this is a swap. Everyone has to bring a dish. I realize that not everyone can cook. So as not to completely eliminate said friends (they’re usually the life of the party!), let everyone know that a family-style dish from a restaurant will be perfectly acceptable.
5) Keep it Simple
Ask half the guests to bring entrees, the other half desserts. Organize the menu to avoid duplicate food items. All food should come precooked and in serving dishes (or slow cookers). Ask your guests to bring their own spill-proof containers, but have some extra disposable containers on hand, just in case. Buffet style would be the easiest way to serve and swap.
6) Post Recipes Online
Spare your guests the drudgery of printing copies of their recipes. Instead, start an online recipe library through websites like Pepperplate.com. This website allows you to manage and share your recipes. And you will not have the hassle of organizing or trying to find your favorite recipe in an old box of 3×5 cards.