Food + Drink

Having People Over? Delegate These 7 Things

Julia Turshen is no stranger to having people over for dinner at her home in the idyllic Hudson Valley. In her new book, Now & Again: Go-To Recipes, Inspired Menus + Endless Ideas for Reinventing Leftovers, Julia shares recipes and menus that inspire home cooks to gather friends and family around the table in an approachable and effortless way. But even the more remarkable host knows she can’t do it all alone.

In this excerpt from Now & Again, Julia gives advice about what items to delegate to others while the host is busy in the kitchen.

7 Things to Delegate to Guests

1. Ice

You can never have too much when you’re having a group over, and unless you have a very large freezer, it’s a hard item to get ahead of time. Ask someone to pick up a bag or two on his or her way over and cross it off your list.

2. Dinner the Night Before a Holiday and/or Breakfast the Day of the Holiday

When you are having a crowd for a holiday or any large gathering, it can be difficult to muster enough bandwidth to plan for the meals around the meal. Assign these to your family and friends. It could be as simple as having someone else order pizza the night before or take care of coffee, toast, and eggs in the morning.

3. Flowers

Have someone else bring them and arrange them. Done and done.

4. Setting the Table

In my house, my passion is all about what’s on the plate and in the bowls. As for which plates and which bowls, I’m more indecisive. Luckily I grew up with a father who is passionate about table settings and married a woman who is, too. Delegating the table to one of them always means I get to do what I love and vice versa.
Now & Again by Julia Turshen

5. Music

One of the best things a friend can bring over is an excellent playlist. Explain the mood you want to set for the evening and let her or him run with it.

6. Alcohol

For friends and family who don’t love to cook (or if you do indeed want to cook everything), assign the booze and be specific about what you want (for example, cold beer or a particular type of tequila for margaritas). A bonus of this suggestion is that alcohol is normally the most expensive part of any meal and delegating it means you can offset the cost of having people over, which will hopefully encourage you to have people over more often.

7. Trash

When I lived for so many years in New York City, I always offered to take the trash downstairs when I was leaving a friend’s apartment after dinner. If you live in a big city, especially one with a lot of walk-up apartments, you know eliminating the need to make that trip down and back up the stairs is a small victory for your host.

– – –

Find more helpful tips and delicious recipes in Now & Again by Julia Turshen. 

Now & Again by Julia Turshen

Julia Turshen

Julia Turshen

Julia Turshen is a writer. She lives in upstate New York.
Julia Turshen


Leave a Comment