item is fajitas. Have the steak or chicken
catered or get a friend to man your grill. Then
set out side dishes of tortillas, diced tomato,
shredded lettuce, grated cheese, jalapenos,
diced onions, avocado slices, sour cream,
picante sauce, and sliced black olives.
Deli trays are always popular. You can
make your own or order it from a caterer or
If making your
own, Sara Lee advises:
For 10 guests,
buy 1 to 2 pounds sliced meat, 1 pound cheese,
16 rolls or 1 to 2 loaves bread, 20 plates and
20 forks plus 50 napkins;
For 20 guests,
buy 2 to 3 pounds sliced meat, 1.5 pounds
cheese, 32 rolls or 2 to 3 loaves bread, 40
plates, 40 forks, and 100 napkins.
refreshing. "Potato salad is always popular,"
says Mr. VanderPol, who notes that the number of
salads you have determines the amount of each
that you need to make or order.
A fresh fruit
salad served in a hollowed-out watermelon or a
tray of sliced melon, fresh strawberries, chunks
of fresh pineapple, and grapes are colorful and
quench your thirst.
No matter what
you select, food should not stand out more than
Wash hands and
surfaces often to keep food safe.
Keep raw foods
and cooked foods separate. Don't
Cook and serve
food at the proper temperature.
Keep cold food
cold and hot food hot. For cold food, place the
tray or bowl on a bed of ice in another
container. For hot food use a chafing dish, a
slow-cooker, or a hot plate.
Waring Pro has
introduced a buffet server with three stainless
steel chafing dishes, each holding 20 4-ounce
servings. It sells for $360.
you can also use the heating units on the grill
to keep food at the proper temperature.
A punch bowl is
always great to serve cool beverages without
relying on cans of pop.
is the chocolate fountain, which is being sold
at major stores. Dip fresh fruit and/or pound
cake or angel food cake squares into the
chocolate as a dessert.
Often there are
other parties going on the same day, which means
the graduate wants to party-hop, as do many of
eat as much as you think they will. However if a
party lasts longer than three or four hours, the
food has to be resupplied.
When hiring a
caterer, interview several caterers and place
orders early to get on their calendars.
Graduationparty.com advises asking questions,
• What are their
• What serving
equipment do they supply?
• Do they rent
tables, chairs, linens, dishes?
• Do they provide
or rent any extras?
• How do they
• Is delivery a
Some people save
money by picking up their order rather than
having it delivered.
If you are
preparing all the food yourself, choose from the
many easy recipes available. One of my favorites
is graduation punch, which people love for all
occasions. Savory Bean & Pasta Salad relies on
canned or jarred bean salads. You can also use
antipasto salads Or wonderful light and
refreshing pastas. These recipes will pass the
3 46-ounce cans of
1 cup pineapple
1 cup grapefruit
quart club soda
At last minute, add club soda and ice. Serve in
punch cups or 5 to 8-ounce paper cups.
Savory Bean & Pasta Salad
2 15-ounce cans
6 cups cooked
medium shell or corkscrew pasta (2 cups dry)
1 1/2 cups of
1/2-inch cubes provolone cheese (about 7 ounces)
fresh oregano or 2 teaspoons dried
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
In a large
bowl, stir together ingredients. Cover and chill
until serving time. Adjust seasoning if desired.
Kathie Smith is The
Blade's food editor.
» E-mail her at
» Read more Kathie Smith columns at