I was recently given a copy of the book Simple Stunning Parties at Home by its author Karen Bussen. In the book, Karen suggests organizing a “party pantry” so that “when it’s time to throw a dinner party or a wine and cheese night on the spur of the moment, I look [to it] for design inspiration, and I pull together all the elements I need.” She lives in a small New York City apartment, so her party pantry isn’t large or cluttered. She recommends a “small closet, a cupboard in the kitchen, or an antique hutch — whatever works for you.”
One of the reasons I have committed myself to living an uncluttered, simple life is because I want to be able to enjoy time with those I love. Being able to invite friends and family over to the house on a moment’s notice is important to me, and an uncluttered home makes this stress-free and simple. Having an organized party pantry makes these surprise events even easier — and so I’m working to create one in my kitchen.
In addition to the obvious tableware, Karen suggests having snacks and condiments with long shelf lives in your party pantry. I’ve always struggled with knowing which types of snacks work well as appetizers or finger foods, so I found this list extremely helpful (from page 23):
- Packaged plain breadsticks
- Jars of olives, pickled jalapenos, stuffed grape leaves, and roasted sweet peppers
- Pistachios and mixed nuts or trail mixes
- Dill pickles
- Bottles of my favorite pasta sauce and a few types of past
- Boxes of crispbreads and crackers
- A variety of unusual chips (root vegetable, pita, tortilla, and others)
- Dried fruits (apricots, cranberries, cherries, and golden raisins)
- Plain microwave popcorn
- Dried Italian sausages and salami
- Biscotti and other cookies
Obviously, you wouldn’t need to keep all of these items in your party pantry. Rather, this is a list of possibilities for things that are good to store and serve. It is also fun to finish the rest of the jar or box of snacks after your guests leave. My mouth is watering just thinking about this list.
What snacks and supplies do you have on hand for unexpected guests? How do you organize your party pantry? Tell us about your setup in the comments.