Who doesn’t love a good party? That’s an easy one — the party host who doesn’t have the right serving tools! Talk about misery — shuffling through cabinets, searching for platters, trays and bowls big enough to serve a crowd. You know what? I just described my first come-one-come-all family Thanksgiving as new bride. But I did receive a LOT of lovely serving pieces the following Christmas. So all’s well…
In the years since, I used those gifted pieces regularly — and greatly increased my collection of serving essentials after I became a retail homewares buyer and the official product tester for our company. A role that fit me to a “T’!
We no longer stock many serving pieces, mainly because most of our favorites are now sold direct through Amazon and a few other large online stores. But I can sure tell you which products were customer favorites, many of which are my Top Faves, too!
Buffet Table Essentials
There are two secrets to a successful buffet table; an accessible layout and a dish-refill plan. Tiered servers with removable trays answer both of these needs beautifully. If you do a lot of entertaining, it might be worthwhile to purchase additional trays for easy swaps (my caterer stepmother taught me this trick!). She – and I — love the following Top Faves. And check out our DIY Simple Buffet Table Video for even more ideas.
Beverage Serving Essentials
Pitchers, carafes, dispensers — oh, my! Which to use? If you have the room and need to serve large amounts of one or two beverages, like tea, water or punch, the large beverage dispensers are hard to beat. They’re the perfect centerpiece for a drinks station and are easier to manage than wandering pitchers and carafes. But the same thought can apply to serving a variety of beverages. Create a drinks station with assorted pitchers and carafes at the center. Grouping them on trays somehow encourages guests to keep them put (don’t know why… but it works) and keeps the area tidy, too. Don’t forget a party tub for cans and bottles – they’re cuter than a cooler for dressier do’s.
Keeping it Cool… or Hot
We sold some terrific serving lines over the years, but the the Servers On-Ice Collection by Prodyne goes above and beyond when it comes to serving chilled foods. These work really well and are beautifully crafted in worry-free acrylic plastic. The Cold Bowl on Ice and Buffet on Ice are two I use often, and the Dip on Ice is a regular feature on “Taco Tuesdays.” I also like the Thermal Tray by Oggi, it stays chilled for some time without messing with ice.
Controlling the Chaos
The right serving utensils and caddies pull the party table all together. I use tongs for serving finger foods at the buffet since spoons and forks can be hard to manage with small hors d’oeuvres. I love Progressive’s appetizer tong sets because they have different grippers which work for different types of foods – plus they’re stainless steel and last forever! Cute and convenient utensil caddies and napkin dispensers round out my serving essentials Top Faves.