Typical socials have some snacks on the tables, along with a free buffet later into the evening.
Table snacks are usually pretzels and chips, and are refilled throughout the evening.
Traditional social buffet food includes rye bread, cheese, kielbasa, luncheon meats, and pickles. While this is the traditional food choice, it is not uncommon to see many other options at a social. These include pizza, perogies and meatballs, or "ethnic food" from the family of the bride and groom.
Do I need to supply food?
If you are at a bar, you may not be required to, although it may still be expected by your guests. If your event is run under a Social Occasion Permit, you may be required to supply free food.
If you're going to go with the traditional social food, you will probably want to stock enough food for a small meal or sizeable snack for half to three-quarters of your guests.
One of the simplest options for social food is ordering in a social platter or pizza. Call ahead of time to find a company that can supply what you need for your event.
You can save some money on food costs by doing some of the work yourself. Social food is a great task to delegate to family members.
For luncheon meats, roll them up keep the platter neat. If they tend to unroll, stick them with toothpicks. Garnishes are nice, consider olives or cherry tomatoes. Supply tongs, forks or other serving utensils.
A traditional social spread shopping list:
- Rye bread
- Luncheon meats
- Garlic sausage or kielbasa
- Condiments - mustard, mayo, margerine
- Vegetable platter
- Garnishes like olives or cherry tomatoes
- Potato chips, pretzels
- Disposable cutlery
- Disposable table cloths
If you put the food out early in the evening, don't bring it all out at once. Leave some in the fridge and bring it out as food gets eaten. Leaving meats out at room temperature is a breeding ground for bacteria.
Make sure all food surfaces are clean, and that only clean hands touch the food and food prep surfaces. Many people have allergies, so take care not to cross contaminate, even with seemingly harmless foods.
At the end of the night you will likely have leftoversm so it's good to have a plan for distributing them among your helpers or family. Meats that have been sitting out for hours should be thrown out.