I hope that y’all had a fabulous weekend filled with lots of sunshine and fun! Have you chosen a date for a party, tailgate, or BBQ, yet?! Continuing along the “remembrance of the college days,” from tailgating part one…I think tailgating done right could double as a party itself. Typically lower in key, but more difficult to plan, the tailgating must be expertly thought through, as you are faced with challenges—no power, running water, and more. Here are some timeline tips for pulling off the most kick-ass tailgate, almost effortlessly. Now that we have established that we are “adults,” it’s time to plan…
Two months out:
1. Start your menu planning and list making. Keep it in a folder in hardcopy or on your computer. Identify any food allergies. You'll want a good mixture of hot, cold, and room/outdoor temperature items. The least amount of time you spend cramming on the menu, the better. Because cramming is almost always inevitable with something. And remember, we’re adults now, and we know what kind of shit goes into preserving shelf-stable foods, and we don’t want ‘em now.
2. Identify food platters, chafers, tables and add to list of what you need to purchase or, ask a friend if they own any and you can borrow. Call rental facility to secure rentals if needed.
3. Send out invitation. If you are doing potluck style, start a google document and be specific with menu items you’d like and that people will eat.
4. Establish your transportation situation and identify cars/trucks/SUVs and who can stay sober
5. Ensure everyone has purchased tickets to the said event.
One month out:
1. Purchase any décor. A lot of Etsy suppliers need extra shipping time!
2. Finalize menu
a. Print every recipe and keep together in a folder
b. From each recipe, create a shopping list broken into categories (i.e. produce, meat, pantry, etc.) and which stores you need to go to. You don’t need Costco for everything!
3. Create your timeline for making all of the food…what can be made two or three days ahead?
a. If you have some help, delegate a few tasks
4. If you are grilling, check propane levels
5. Plan any tailgating games and who is bringing
5–7 days out:
1. Gather your food platters, chafers, etc. and put sticky notes on what will be displayed on each…set aside
2. Put all dry goods/non-perishables into a bag and set aside:
a. Trash bags
1. Utensils holder!
c. Paper plates
d. Paper cups
1. Straw holder!
1. Napkin holder!
h. Hand sanitizer
i. First aid kit
j. Fire extinguisher
k. Party décor
3. Check-in with friends if you are doing potluck style to ensure everyone is still on-task
4. Pick out your outfit and make sure it’s clean, you won’t have much other time to do this but right now.
2–3 days out:
1. Go grocery shopping!
2. Identify small prep items that can be chopped up, prepped, and won’t go bad. Think, homemade salsas, carrots, cheese, etc.
a. Also identify any recipes that call for the same ingredient (garlic is used a lot)
b. Pre-measure any dry ingredients if you are feeling extra-sassy and place in bowls or Ziploc baggies
3. Sketch a timeline for the day before and the day of, working backwards from the time you need to be somewhere. Here’s a great example:
a. Say my tailgate starts at 3:00 p.m.
b. I need one hour to get there. 2:00 p.m.
c. Two hours to get ready (I always schedule this because I know I really need one+ hour and I’m usually never ready 2 hours out) 12:00 p.m.
d. I need to pack the car that always takes one hour. 11:00 a.m.
e. I need to eat breakfast. 10:00 a.m.
f. I need to workout 9:00 a.m.
g. I want to make a last-minute crock pot recipe that takes 4 hours. 8 a.m.
h. And for good measure, let’s just set it for 15 minutes before that so I can ease into waking up. 7:45 a.m. wakeup call. Boom.
4. Get some sleep…and schedule it in that timeline you just created!
1 day out:
1. You should be in full-on-prep-beast-mode. Display each recipe in your kitchen so that you can work through each in a timely manner with the ones that won’t get hurt if they sit on the stove for 10 minutes longer than a recipe calls (i.e. these are your chili recipes).
2. Create a running list of things that start to pop up in your mind for the next day (remember to get 2 bags of ice)
THE BIG DAY:
1. Utilize your timeline! Set alarms for where you should be in the course of getting ready, if you need to
2. Try not to cook anything this day other than a crockpot recipe if you have one. (I should probably take my own advice). You should, however, eat a solid breakfast. You need a little bit of protein to get moving!
3. Most importantly, HAVE FUN! You have worked your little tush off in planning this party, and you should take the time to enjoy it. Take lots of pictures, create a hashtag, I mean, I don’t need to tell you HOW to party, because chances are, if you’re reading this, you already have that part of it down pat. ;)