Buffets and bowls

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Buffets probably need no introduction, but ‘bowls’ might. Bowl food is 21-century party fare, as substantial as lunch or supper, but served in a bowl and designed to be eaten standing up. When it comes to informal gatherings, people might have rather different ideas. Some people like buffets because guests can help themselves and sit down at the table or perchsomewhere to chat and eat. Sor others, buffets are still way too formal. Space is also at a premium at some houses, so guests have to cram together and pitch in. The ideal way forthe host to entertain the family and friends is with one choice of main course presented in bowls, which people eat standing up.¬†We’re giving you few positive points for each of the two options for your birthday party or family gathering. You may like the both ideas equaly, but, depending on the situation, one option may be more suitable than the other. However, the choice of styles is entirely up to you and the occasion.

Advantages of buffets…

  • You can invite more people than for a sit-down meal. Some can stand and some can sit and everyone is free to mix and chat.
  • Your guests can see what’s on offer and choose their favourites, serving themselves as much as little as they like.
  • Less help is needed when serving.


and of bowl food

  • Just a bowl and fork are needed, so it’s easy for guests to stand and eat.
  • You don’t need to worryabout not having enough chairs, and there’s no need to bother with laying the table, either.
  • You can offer just one dish – unlike at a buffet.
  • So long as the food is easy to eat brom a bowl with a fork, you can serve almost anything – a curry, casserole and dumplings, pasta, or a hearty stew.
  • You have the option of serving food straight into the bowls or putting it out for people to help themselves.

bowl food

Bowl food

  • Avoid anything you need to eat with a knife and fork.
  • If you decide to offer a choice, make a life easier for yourself by mixing the cold disheswith hot. That way, you only have to worry about serving one dish hot, rather than several.
  • Serve accompaniments such as sauces, raita, and chutneys on a side table. Put them in bowls with a teaspoon for guests to help themselves.

bowl food 1

  • Deep white bowls are ideal for serving bowl food, but you could also use cereal bowls or dessert bowls with a large rim. It doesn’t matter if you mix and match.
  • For an oriental theme, use oriental food boxes – they’re made of cardboard and are foldable. You can buy them online and in specialists shops.


  • A buffet usually consists of one or two main courses, with a selection of side dishes and a choice of puddings.
  • Cold buffets are easier because almost everything can be prepared ahead. However, often choice are warm new potatoes or jacket potatoes, even at a cold buffet.
  • Prepare all dishes to serve a number of people you have coming. If you make them any smaller, there’s a risk that some will run out. People will go back for second helpings, and any leftovers can be kept in the fridge for a few days or frozen.

buffet 1

  • Make portions attractive and small. With guests tucking into more than one dish, you don’t want to overwhelmthem.
  • Take care what dishes you serve together -most guests will want to sample everything, and poached salmon might not be the perfect partner for chicken tikka masala.
  • If you’re serving a whole ham, carve a few slices to get people going.
  • If you’re offering a first course at a formal meal, serve it at the table where guests will sit.

buffet sweets