November 2, 2015

With all the holidays coming up, this is a perfect time to talk about creating a menu for your dinner.

Why should someone create a menu for their dining experience with friends and family at home? If you’re only making a sandwich for dinner then this may not seem relevant, however, there are many reasons to create a menu for your special dining experiences and it begins with how many guests, The name of your guests, the occasion for your dining, the kind of food you want to create and how many courses do you want to serve. You may also get creative with your menu and include it as part of each place setting for your tablescaping so your guest know what and how many courses they are having. It also helps you not to serve the same food twice to the same guest and creating a memory of all your cooking creations. I don’t know about you, but I do forget what I made a month ago.

At a restaurant, menu would somewhat serve a different purpose than the one at home. Depending on the type of cuisine they serve, such as Italian, Thai or French and the level of epicurean sophistication, the menu items are carefully considered for the type of dining experience restaurants want their guests to have. It can be “regular”, where dishes come with one or more sides, “a la carte”, with an array options for a guest to choose from separately, or “table d’hote”, also called “prefixed” with pre-established courses for serving with a set price.

At home, the purpose of preparing a menu, when you have more than one or two courses, is to help you with your process of creating your unique food art for your occasion. It serves almost as your checklist. As I talk throughout my site it is about helping you with your organization, planning, shopping, timing and preparing your cuisine. Your pantry and refrigerator could also be your best ally based on what you keep stock up in them.

These elements help to establish a healthy and happy cooking and entertaining experience and a positive creative mental health, which affects all areas of your daily life. You feel much more in control and relaxed when you know what you are going to cook for your dining occasion. You shop accordingly to your needs rather than buy ingredients that you will not use and end up throwing away. The time you take to prepare a menu is time well spent. Don’t feel hung up! Just put down what you are going to cook and include most all ingredients in each course. It just gives you something to go by. You always can modify it or change it. It happens to me all the time. You may not find one or more ingredients that you are looking for your course. Or you may find something that looks so good you could not resist coming up with a different dish. I don’t know about you but I love to improvise. This is where your creativity comes in.

Now don’t forget about your pantry and refrigerator. I enjoy healthy food ingredients, healthy ways of cooking and I do lot of entertaining when I am not traveling. So I keep my pantry and refrigerator full of the types of food ingredients that I use in my cooking and many of my “Magical Savory Rubs and Blends. Visit SHOP/FOOD. Be wise about what you stock up. Dried seasonings could be really handy when you cannot find fresh. Here are some menu examples to make it easy for your creative process.

Enjoy your menu making! And send me your recipes!! I would like to know what you create! Happy eating!  HG