The Easy Way To Make Sure The Food At Your Party Is A Huge Hit

People enjoying party food
People enjoying party food - Portra/Getty Images

Of course you'll probably have mood music and intoxicating libations, but a party isn't a party until there's a platter of finger food. Whether it's chips and dips or mini-sandwiches, there are many hors d'oeuvres that can satisfy a crowd. But while you may think that any food is good party food, the temperature of your appetizers and entrees matter more than the food itself.

Surprisingly, room-temperature party nibbles are the unsung heroes of entertainment. They eliminate the need for last-minute reheating and frequent trips to the kitchen to check the status of your food, allowing hosts to focus on enjoying the company of their guests rather than being tied to the kitchen. Plus, your guests won't leave complaining about the cold pizza, soggy french fries, or solidified queso. Although you may think your options are limited, there are a vast array of party foods that are best when enjoyed at room temperature, so don't feel like you're confined to a boring platter of crackers. In fact, some items even taste better at room temperature.

Read more: 11 Of The Best Cooking Tips From Bobby Flay

Best Room-Temperature Party Food

Charcuterie board
Charcuterie board - Alvarez/Getty Images

If you typically serve party appetizers that require frequent monitoring, you may not know where to start with selecting party food that can be served at room temperature. But don't fret, plenty of these fiesta foods can satisfy the cravings of your guests' diverse palates. For starters, look to charcuterie provisions. Because salami, prosciutto, and other charcuterie-style meats have gone through a preservation process designed to reduce their moisture content, cured meats can be served at room temperature. Of course, what's salami without a little cheese to match? Because it's ripe with saturated fat, which remains solid at room temperature, the cheese will maintain its shape and flavor without extensive temperature control. The same goes for other fatty foods, especially dips like guacamole, hummus, and yogurt-based dips.

From tuna to sardines to anchovies, tinned fish is another great choice for served-room-temperature party food thanks to the vacuum-sealed canning process and preservation liquid. Serve canned fish with crackers or crusty bread and flutes of champagne, and you have a sophisticated spread of protein and carbs to soak up the bubbly. Just make sure to offer them mints to curb their inevitably brackish breath. Don't forget to serve a platter of sweets to balance out any savory fare. Cakes, pastries, jams, and whole fruits like kiwis, dates, apricots, and bananas can all be safely served at room temperature.

Preserving The Safety Of Your Party Food

People enjoying party food
People enjoying party food - Pressmaster/Shutterstock

Serving room-temperature food at your party prevents soggy or frigid fare and keeps you from spending your whole event in the kitchen. However, even food served at room temperature can't stay out on display forever, and food safety is far more important than convenience. Food that's not chilled on ice or stored in a warming device like a bain-marie or crock pot, should not be left out for more than two hours. Provisions left out beyond then can become a hot spot for dangerous, illness-inducing bacteria to breed.

To circumnavigate frequent trips to the kitchen, plan for a specific time frame to serve your party food. Consider serving savory bites for two hours, then safely storing them before presenting your sweet bites for another two hours. This way, you only have to work in the kitchen once over the course of a four-hour party. Unless you're hosting a gathering in an ice chest or inferno, consider serving room-temperature food at your next party. It's an easy way to guarantee happy guests while keeping you more engaged with friends and family than you are with food.

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