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Published: Wednesday, 12/24/2008

Planning The Perfect Brunch

BY RONDA ADDY

Brunch is a late morning-early afternoon meal served between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. that combines foods eaten for breakfast and lunch. It is usually a buffet-like affair that many restaurants and hotels serve on Sundays and holidays. The food often ranges from eggs and bacon to soup and seafood. This year, instead of having a fancy dinner party for the holidays, why not have a casual brunch? Here are some tips to help you plan the brunch.

Decide whom you are inviting. The age, sex and number of guests you invite will have an influence on what you serve. Teenagers eat differently than adults, women eat differently than men and small groups do not eat as much as large groups. Decide when to have the brunch -- Sunday is a good day, but any day will work. For a casual brunch, phone call or e-mail invitations will work; for a special celebration, written invitations are ideal. To get an idea as to how many people are coming, be sure to include an RSVP note on the invitation.

The number of people you invite will also influence your menu. Bacon, eggs, sausage and omelets are good for small groups. Hash browns, quiches, pastries, pancakes and fruit bowls work well for large groups.

Choose foods that you enjoy making and can prepare ahead of time or purchase from a deli or bakery. When cooking, set up a food preparation chart so you don't try to make several things at once.

If you are going to invite a lot of people, you may want to consider having a potluck brunch in which everyone brings a dish or beverage. You could assign certain people a food category such as pastries or eggs. Just make sure you equalize the expense and effort involved with each category.

While selecting the food, consider the dinnerware as well. Are you going to use the good plates and silverware, or are you going to use paper plates and plastic utensils? Regardless, make sure you have enough dishes and serving utensils for your food.

If you are using paper plates, make sure they are sturdy enough to hold the food, and if you need to keep food hot, make sure you use thermal serving bowls. Add a nice centerpiece for color and put on some soft background music for ambiance.

Brunch is an often overlooked meal. However, it is a good way to entertain family and friends and will work for almost any size of group and any occasion. You can experiment with new recipes at your brunch or stick to the tried and true. You can go fancy or you can go simple. It is entirely up to you.



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