October 03, 2007


All of us very often call our friends,relatives home for lunch or dinner.Many a times after the guests leave we ponder whether we should have had a better menu.Some of them are really well versed in hosting but still every party is special in some way or the other.So we all like to be honoured as a good host.This post of mine will certainly help you all.
Menu is a list of dishes to be served at a meal or a dinner party.Points to be remembered while planning a menu.

  • Make a guest list
  • Invite guests well in advance,confirming the day and date
  • Make a note of the vegetarian and the non-vegetarian guests
  • Note the number of children
  • Find out any particular dislikes and allergies
  • Plan the menu at least four days ahead of the dinner
  • Think of a theme like children's party menu or a formal dinner
  • Type of cuisine
  • Choose the dishes with great care so that the dishes do not require last minute
    cooking and preparation
  • Choose dishes that you have tried before and can make it well
  • Do not try new recipes that you are not sure of


  • Select the main course first then decide on the other courses to give contrast in texture ,flavour and colour
  • The flavours of the meal need to be varied
  • Avoid repetition of similar flavours like lemon and tomato
  • Make the meal colourful
  • Colour can be added by careful choice of fruits,vegetables,sauces and garnish
  • Opt for seasonal fruits and vegetables
  • Plan a budgeted meal
  • Make a shopping list of all the required items and procure them in advance
  • Accompaniments like sauces,chutneys,desserts etc can be prepared the day before
  • Vegetables and dals must be cooked fresh on the day of the party
  • Plan the menu according to the season ie, a cold dessert in winter is not a great idea
  • Pay attention to small details like the crockery,cutlery and linen to be used for the occasion
  • Make sure they are all washed and ironed
  • Plan to set the table according to the number of guests
  • If many small children are included keep a set of unbreakable crockery for them


  • Starter/soup
  • Main dish
  • Side dishes
  • Cereal preparation
  • Salad
  • Accompaniments
  • Dessert
  • Hot beverage


  • Select non-spicy and light items
  • Small sized portions that are easy to handle
  • The items should be colourful and attractive
  • Do not make too many items a few dishes well presented is much more appreciated than a large variety


  • Plan a menu with simple,tried and tested recipes
  • Do not include any dish which is complicated or requires attention at the last minute
  • Do not use more than two types of cuisine


  • Shopping list should be made after you have finalised the number of guests and menu
  • Make a list of items that you require based on what you already have in store
  • All the non-perishable items like cereals,pulses,pastas,spices can be purchased ahead
  • All the perishables items like milk and milk products,fruits and vegetables can be purchased the previous day

Ithank my dear friend Indu for compiling this for our 'Potluck Specials'
Hope this post will be useful.I'll continue to share my views on TABLE SETTING ,POTLUCK PLANNING AND HOSTING in my future posts HAPPY PARTYING.....


Sirisha Kilambi said...

Good one Renuka.......Loved your post and pretty useful too......Nice pointers dear :-)

Latha Narasimhan said...

That was pretty comprehensive renuka! You have listed well!:)) I just can't plan with our an event in mind! Wonder how you did it!:))

Bharathy said...

Renu when are you planning to invite us?? ;)