Why not throw your own party? You can adapt the Cookbook Recipe Tasting Party in several ways. We just happened to be putting one together for our homeschool group to raise money for our Benevolence Fund so we cooked our favorite recipes from those we submitted. But, it would be fun to get a group of ladies together and make your favorite recipes from various cookbooks or all purchase one cookbook and make an item from it. You could do the same for a recipe website. A website like http://www.allrecipe.com/ actually rates the recipes, so you could have your friends cook the best recipes from different categories. Or your friends could make their favorite dishes from their own recipe box and then print off several copies of the recipe for people to take home.
Here are some hints to make the party go off without a hitch.
Get with your friends and find out what they would like to make. Make sure you have a nice balance of salty and sweet foods.
Ensure you have a way to keep hot foods hot throughout the party. I like to use crockpots for soups and other warm dishes. Remind food contributors to bring utensils to serve.
Send out a series of e-mails reminding everyone about the party 2 weeks, 1 week, 4 days and 1 day before. Attach a map to your house or give a link to Google map.
Have a doorprize. I found a cute apron and matching potholders. They weren't expensive and went along with the theme.
Use nametags. I'm horrible with names and this is a lifesaver.
Use foam or paper cups for the soups. This is a tasting party. Bowls encourage people to take too much.
Use a permanent marker to put names on the beverage cups so everyone can find their own cup after they set it down.
Write the name of the dish and who made it on a cute little recipe card next to the dish.
Several days before the party, start putting ice from your ice maker in large ziplock bags and put in your freezer. This ensures you have enough ice for the party without having to buy ice.
In the summer, turn down your thermostat to about 76 the morning of the party and cool your house down. Lots of bodies = lots of heat. If it is winter, don't make the mistake of making your house too toasty. It will warm up fast with lots of people milling around your house.
Make a beverage station with all the cups and beverages in this spot. Put out an ice bucket filled with ice and tongs. If you will serve coffee, put out spoons, sugar and a variety of sugar substitutes. Put some ice in a pretty container and put your creamer in it. Don't put your napkins in this area. Someone always spills and your napkins will be ruined.
If kids will be at the party, set up "stations" for them. We had a Lego station, dress up station, magic station (my son performed some tricks) and best of all we had a cookie decorating station in the kitchen. I made some of my lemon butter cookies and cut them out in cute fall shapes. I found the perfect cookie cutter set by Wilton with acorns and leaves. I put out two icing containers and two large containers of variety sprinkles. Put out plastic knives or spoons for the kids to spread the icing on and let them go to town. I put out napkins for the kids to put under their cookies while making them.
Lemon Butter Cookies
4 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. softened unsalted butter
1 tsp. baking powder
2 c. sugar
1/4 tsp. baking soda
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbl. grated lemon peel
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbl. lemon juice
Sift dry ingredients into bowl. In mixer, cream butter. Add sugar a little at a time. Beat in eggs. Beat in lemon peel, lemon juice and vanilla. Shape the dough into a ball; divide it in half and transfer to a sheet of waxed paper. Pat each half into a 1/2 inch thick disk and wrap in waxed paper. Chill for 2 hours.Preheat Oven to 350. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Let chilled dough soften at room temperature for 10 minutes, until it call be rolled. Roll between sheets of lightly floured waxed paper to 1/8 inch thick. Cut out with cookie cutters. Bake for 7 to 8 minutes or until the edges of the cookies are a pale golden color.