Dinner for a whole house

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Question:

If you had a full house booked for one family there on Thanksgiving, would you serve it plated, or help yourself?

The dynamics are that the table will be full, so it is not as easy to get up and move around all the time - not bad to make a plate and sit down, but to get up and down constantly is not the greatest idea. I may break it up and put a smaller table in the foyer as well. But the table will still be full.

Should it be a help yourself buffet or just plated? and table service? We have one vegetarian in the group, so we will be able to handle that. (ie no bacon in the green beans etc)

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Congratulations JB! You probably kicked off their holiday season in the perfect way.

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You can feel proud to put this one in your substantial portfolio of successes!yes

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I got hugs at check out, each person thanking us for all we did for them. They said, and I quote, they go to a different B&B every Thanksgiving (somewhere in the middle of all of them - distance wise) and this one has been the best, provided everything they wanted and needed!

That meant a lot to me, I know it is not easy planning something like this for a whole family. We just let them do their thing, and were not in the way all the time. Cleaned up afterward, and that was that. I would be the same, "I am not there to visit the innkeepers, I am there for family!" heart

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Joey Bloggs wrote:

I got hugs at check out, each person thanking us for all we did for them. They said, and I quote, they go to a different B&B every Thanksgiving (somewhere in the middle of all of them - distance wise) and this one has been the best, provided everything they wanted and needed!

That meant a lot to me, I know it is not easy planning something like this for a whole family. We just let them do their thing, and were not in the way all the time. Cleaned up afterward, and that was that. I would be the same, "I am not there to visit the innkeepers, I am there for family!" heart

That is wonderful.

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How did the dinner go?

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Madeleine wrote:

How did the dinner go?

Everything went well! The point person was apologizing for making us have to work so hard, and I told her and I meant it, that it was music to my ears to hear them laughing and have a great time together. yes

Wonderful!

The one child who was here spilled his drink within 5 minutes of being served. He did not have a goblet or any stemware, just a can of soda. 

We did dessert service at 7pm and everyone loved everything. They played music and games in the parlor.

Really this is the way to do it, if you are spread out, all meet in the middle and have the entire inn to yourself, with someone else doing all the cooking! Brilliant idea. Photo from this morning here. They have been following the blog, so I asked if they wanted one of all of them, and they did!

We have a musician home for the holiday from Nashville, and playing tonight just a block away. I told them to expect 10 tonight for this local wing ding (our guests are excited to go) two groups will be playing.  The other is an all female bluegrass band, fiddle, dobro, bass fiddle, banjo and guitar. 

Next Friday: newly crowned IBMA Male Vocalist Of The Year Mr. Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice...**Dec 7

**Anyone want to come out next weekend, we have rooms open! Plus our downtown come home to a Franklin County Christmas! End of our street. You are MORE THAN WELCOME! (Innmate rates apply)

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Joey Bloggs wrote:

Madeleine wrote:

How did the dinner go?

Everything went well! The point person was apologizing for making us have to work so hard, and I told her and I meant it, that it was music to my ears to hear them laughing and have a great time together. yes

Wonderful!

And THAT is why I love group bookings! You think I'm crazy when I say I love groups but that's what they're like most of the time and I've never had a "bad" group. I'm glad you got a great one!

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happyjacks wrote:

Joey Bloggs wrote:

Madeleine wrote:

How did the dinner go?

Everything went well! The point person was apologizing for making us have to work so hard, and I told her and I meant it, that it was music to my ears to hear them laughing and have a great time together. yes

Wonderful!

And THAT is why I love group bookings! You think I'm crazy when I say I love groups but that's what they're like most of the time and I've never had a "bad" group. I'm glad you got a great one!

It has been only happy gatherings for us also when a family booked. When we get a family booking, this house ROCKS as they gall to each other from room to room just like they would at home.

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Joey Bloggs wrote:

Photo from this morning here.

And the drink spiller got the head of the table position!

I enjoyed scrolling on down to see how the blur produced a full tail wag from the Assistant to the Assistant Innkeeper!

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He got the head seat today, so both parents could help him. Haha. They removed his water and left him with juice only. He is a really great kid, he has a ukulele to play.

gillumhouse's picture
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I givr kids a heavy goblet - the stem is easier for them to grab than a glass and their fist then supports the bowl of the goblet. 2 to 4 get a wine goblet and older ones get a water goblet size.

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Joey Bloggs wrote:

Madeleine wrote:

How did the dinner go?

Really this is the way to do it, if you are spread out, all meet in the middle and have the entire inn to yourself, with someone else doing all the cooking! Brilliant idea.

I totally agree that having a whole house where everyone can meet on neutral grounds is a great idea. And, of course, I have a story where it didn't work out. Eye-wink

Whole family here for the parents' anniversary. First morning we lay out the buffet, they eat it and then ask when is the main course coming? WHAT??? One of them grabbed their laptop and showed us ALL of the breakfasts we serve and said that's what they expected to be served. EVERYTHING. Quiche, eggs, french toast, pancakes, all of it ON TOP OF everything they just ate.

Obviously we were not prepared to make all of those things for 20 guests at the drop of a hat.

We told them we would make one of those things for the next morning and none of the buffet items.

Guy who was so wound up about not getting 15 courses for breakfast had a heart attack that night and ended up in the hospital. One SIL was sent home in tears. Banished. Parents were beside themselves as oldest son is in cardiac care.

Nope, that one didn't work out well.

However, we have done this more successfully, so yes, it's a great idea. Even tho I had everything in writing on the one that didn't work out I was not specific enough about the hot/cold buffet items so lesson learned.

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Ditto on the plated if you have help to get everything out quickly plus deal with all the little requests that will come when the guest has their plate put before them.  No matter how careful you are about having bread, beverages, condiments etc...already on tables before seating, there will always be those small, delaying "special" requests. 

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Silverspoon's picture
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I would make a nice menu for each table (or several to put on one long table) and serve the meal plated.  For your own sanity, it makes more sense than trying to manage a buffet where keeping every thing hot can be a real challenge unless you are set up for it with chaffing dishes etc. If you offer refills, everyone should be satisfied and you will not have to worry about rearranging your whole dining room.

Madeleine's picture
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Plated.

TheBeachHouse's picture
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Joey Bloggs wrote:

Question:

If you had a full house booked for one family there on Thanksgiving, would you serve it plated, or help yourself?

The dynamics are that the table will be full, so it is not as easy to get up and move around all the time - not bad to make a plate and sit down, but to get up and down constantly is not the greatest idea. I may break it up and put a smaller table in the foyer as well. But the table will still be full.

Should it be a help yourself buffet or just plated? and table service? We have one vegetarian in the group, so we will be able to handle that. (ie no bacon in the green beans etc)

 

Might depend on the menu.   Are you offering several vegetable or starch options or does everyone get the same thing?

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Full here for Thanksgiving but they are all going to Grammas house for dinner . Only breakfast served "room service style". Has always been this way, must have lots of Grammas in Bridgewater ?

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Mary at Bridgewater Inn and Cottage wrote:

Full here for Thanksgiving but they are all going to Grammas house for dinner . Only breakfast served "room service style". Has always been this way, must have lots of Grammas in Bridgewater ?



 AND this morn they are going to Grammas for breakfast , one room only.  Sad

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Mary at Bridgewater Inn and Cottage wrote:

Full here for Thanksgiving but they are all going to Grammas house for dinner . Only breakfast served "room service style". Has always been this way, must have lots of Grammas in Bridgewater ?

I suggested a pumpkin pie for Friday breakfast.  My husband looked at me like I was crazy.  I'm thinking "leftovers" away from home.   Should I stick with muffins?  

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I am going to make pumpkin chocolate chip muffins for my Vegan Thursday morning - minus the chips and the eggs of course. The recipe is in the recipe section here. (For Vegan I will use 2 tablespoons of water for  the egg.)

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Tough one. Really, I mean that. I would like a buffet so I could serve myself what I wanted but plated means everyone gets something and none of that, 'But Uncle Bubba took all the yams!'

OK, how about this instead...a mix of the 2? You start the platters and bowls at opposite ends of the table with everyone seated. You collect them again when they've gone around and THEN put them on the buffet for seconds. Leave the gravy on the table.

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Madeleine wrote:

Tough one. Really, I mean that. I would like a buffet so I could serve myself what I wanted but plated means everyone gets something and none of that, 'But Uncle Bubba took all the yams!'

OK, how about this instead...a mix of the 2? You start the platters and bowls at opposite ends of the table with everyone seated. You collect them again when they've gone around and THEN put them on the buffet for seconds. Leave the gravy on the table.

There won't be room on the table to do that. I will have the usual rolls and butter, cranberry sauce, olives and gherkins on the table. The two choices of plated or not plated are really the only options. 

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We do group dinners here fairly often and in my experience, plated is easier for everyone -- including you.

There's some brief, intense chaos in the kitchen while getting all the plates made up for serving but once they're out there, you're in maintenance mode. Offer seconds (even thirds) as individuals finish, then you refill their plates in the kitchen as needed.

The only time I do a buffet is when it's very casual and the weather is appropriate for eating outside. Then I lay the food out on the dining table, guests fill their plates inside then take them out to eat on the deck. Buffets really do require a lot of space, not just for the food but for people to move and reach and set a plate down, etc.

Buffets mean more dishes at the end (assuming you're transferring food from cooking vessel to serving vessel) and often more food in terms of both quantity and variety.

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Agree with cleaning after buffet.  With plated I can get the bulk of the cleaning done as the dinner progresses.  Plus you can pre-box some leftovers to send home if you do that.

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happyjacks wrote:

We do group dinners here fairly often and in my experience, plated is easier for everyone -- including you.

There's some brief, intense chaos in the kitchen while getting all the plates made up for serving but once they're out there, you're in maintenance mode. Offer seconds (even thirds) as individuals finish, then you refill their plates in the kitchen as needed.

The only time I do a buffet is when it's very casual and the weather is appropriate for eating outside. Then I lay the food out on the dining table, guests fill their plates inside then take them out to eat on the deck. Buffets really do require a lot of space, not just for the food but for people to move and reach and set a plate down, etc.

Buffets mean more dishes at the end (assuming you're transferring food from cooking vessel to serving vessel) and often more food in terms of both quantity and variety.

I was thinking it would be a NICER meal plated as well. And you got it on the cooking vs serving, to get it all HOT onto a nicer serving platter means DOUBLE DISHES and time and hassle.

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We generally have 12 - 20 for any holiday meal.  We serve buffet style and the table is a bit tight. 

When it's time for seconds, people manage to find their way back to the buffet. 

I've never liked 'family style' service - I don't like the food on the table.  We will have cranberry sauce and gravy on the table.    

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TheBeachHouse wrote:

We generally have 12 - 20 for any holiday meal.  We serve buffet style and the table is a bit tight. 

When it's time for seconds, people manage to find their way back to the buffet. 

I've never liked 'family style' service - I don't like the food on the table.  We will have cranberry sauce and gravy on the table.    

Not family,  paying guests. Service vs help your self. I prefer to get my own food myself as well, but then, plated is a time and space saver. hm... No room on the table for the food. Period. We have a centerpiece and all the place settings etc. Thanks!

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Joey Bloggs wrote:

TheBeachHouse wrote:

We generally have 12 - 20 for any holiday meal.  We serve buffet style and the table is a bit tight. 

When it's time for seconds, people manage to find their way back to the buffet. 

I've never liked 'family style' service - I don't like the food on the table.  We will have cranberry sauce and gravy on the table.    

Not family,  paying guests. Service vs help your self. I prefer to get my own food myself as well, but then, plated is a time and space saver. hm... No room on the table for the food. Period. We have a centerpiece and all the place settings etc. Thanks!

 

yeah.  I got that it was paying guests.  I have hosted hundreds of dinner parties.  Just sharing my experience.

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