Well, it's over. Everyone had a good time. Clean up is almost all done - just need to put everything away and figure out what to do with half empty bottles of soda that I don't drink. I will drink the half empty bottles of wine. The evening went down like this -
I had fixed a vegetable tray with hummus and dip as one appetizer and a Mediterranean vegetable tray (assortment of olives, artichoke hearts, marinated mushrooms, etc) as another. I had prepared two trays of appetizers and had cheese and crackers in reserve. I, however, was not the person responsible for appetizers at this party. About 1/2 hour after the party started the person responsible for appetizers arrived bringing cut up oranges and some grapes (which she had to wash and cut and assemble in my kitchen. See previous post on how much I hate this.). Did she really think that was sufficient as an appetizer for 14 people? Glad I had fixed something to supplement it but I didn't bother to pull out my reserve cheese because by this point I was too busy fixing nachos. (Note: all my vegetables and marinated stuff was eaten, the fruit was uneaten because by the time it arrived it was almost time for dinner, and who eats oranges as an appetizer?)
For dinner we had the famous "main dish salad" which was a green salad with lots of chopped green and wilted vegetables - wilted to the point of slime - and theoretically there was chicken included but neither Charlie nor I could find any. Someone else brought a green salad which was suspiciously like the "main dish salad" except it explicitly did not have any chicken. We had some delicious green beans. In addition to the main dish salad someone brought a crockpot of chili, thank goodness. Finally something my husband considers to be dinner! I had also made some cornbread as a go-with for the chili and just figured my gluten-free person knew enough not to eat it. Looking at the table and looking around the room at the men in attendance it was very clear that there was not enough food, especially "man food". I had picked up a couple of bags of corn chips at the store and had a couple of cans of refried beans and some cheese and salsa, so I quickly put together two platters of nachos so there would something that could actually constitute a meal - chili, nachos, salad - for the men or main dish salad and green beans and fruit for the women. Had I not made the nachos people would definitely have left hungry.
We had three people who were to have brought dessert. One person did and it was a fabulous and very rich chocolate cake so with a couple of pots of coffee dessert was done.
Someone was supposedly responsible for bringing the wine - remember we have 14 people coming. I found two empty bottles of wine that were not mine at the end of the party which means that the "wine people" brought two regular sized bottles of wine for 14 people. Glad I had my giant value wine bottles on the drinks table.
This is what I will insist on next year when we do this party. We will have a menu and we will give people choices of what from the menu they want to bring. We will have multiple people bring appetizers - 2 - 3 people. Main dish will be me - Chicken Marbella (my go-to dish for all large groups) with rice pilaf. I will also provide one appetizer so there is food at the start of the party. One person will need to bring a vegetable like green beans or peas with enough to feed entire group. One person will bring a salad for the group. Each couple will be asked to bring one bottle of wine (and if it is white to bring it chilled). I will have all soft drinks and water (and a couple of bottles of wine for the early arrivals). One good dessert is usually enough. We can adjust numbers based on attendees - more side dishes or appetizers or desserts. The goal here is that we actually have a dinner with sufficient food for the attendees.
Final result - will I do this again? Probably yes since I've been doing it for years and years. Will I finally seize control of organizing it from S? I'll do my best.