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Apr 6, 2007 09:01 AM

Turning a buffet crowd onto a sit down meal

I'm hosting Easter for the first time this year. Usually the crowd just bellies up to the counter full of food, slaps some ham and taters onto a plate and hunches over it in some armchair in the corner near a t.v.

I'd like to transition that into a sit-down meal. I'd like to place all the food on the set table for serving and ask everyone to sit down. the only catch being is that the kids will be sitting elsewhere and will have to have their plates filled first. i don't want that exersize to turn into a buffet free for all if we serve from the kitchen. my thought is to get everyone around the table and serve the kiddies, sending them on their way to their table, and then commencing with the grown-ups. does that make sense?

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  1. Just a few ideas. First, have the dining tables set beautifully when people arrive instead of the usual stack of plates and silverware by the food. This might set the tone prior to the meal. Second, perhaps serve an appetizer at the table before the main meal is offered. This gets them to the table where they have set up camp, so to speak, and a little direction from you will keep things as you had planned it.

    Important: Make sure the TV is turned off before serving. Put wine bottles, water pitchers, and any condiments, etc. on the dining table as well.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Michele4466

      I might even go so far as to move your TV or cover it. People in my family certainly find ways to watch if it isn't blatantly off-limits.

      1. re: Michele4466

        Placing an appetizer at the table was my first thought too. Place an appetizer on both the adult and child tables to make them sit down. Give the kids a few minutes to enjoy their's then invite them up to fill their plates. You could supervise the kids, perhaps with the help of one other adult - making sure the other adults remain seated at the table. Then you and your kitchen helper could put the serving dishes on the adult table.

      2. In addition to the well set table, I have found that namecards are also a big help. Make them pretty, maybe a little caligraphy. This is a subliminal instruction to all that they are expected to join the table versus sit in front of the tv.

        1. Sounds like my in-laws gathering. If you set a table and then bring food out after everyone sits, they'll get the idea. As far as the kiddie table, also have it set, serve the food there in their own serving platters and let parents get them food. Then have everyone sit and eat at the adult table. You won't have your buffet idea of having the food elsewhere and then sitting down but it's hard to manage a lot of people getting up to get more food and then sitting down while others are trying to enjoy their meals. If the food is nearby, they just have to pass it.

          1. Thank you all for your great suggestions. They all worked. Beautifully set table. No TV in site. Music playing. Serving dishes on the table. It was fantastic. Thanks again.