Ideas for DIY table parties, including tacos, pizza, omelettes and waffles


I really like people to eat, but I can never agree or choose my menus well enough not to get stuck in the kitchen for most of the night. This is probably one of the reasons why Potluck was invented, to alleviate the weight of the unfortunate guest. Another solution: put your friends to work in your kitchen!

I say this in the best way, of course. I do not expect you to give them a knife and, for example, "Chop" or "Clean these dishes" (even if this works for you and your friends, can I also be your friend?). No, I want you to let your friends in the act of personalizing their meal. This not only raises a part of the responsibility from you, but is also able to satisfy different diets and tastes. Moreover, it is fun, convivial and acts as an icebreaker or group activity that will not make anyone feel excluded.

Here are some ideas from our archives that you can use as a basis for your next do-it-yourself dinner (or breakfast, lunch or brunch):

Tacos. This is one of the easiest do-it-yourself routes, because there's no cooking that has to happen after everyone has assembled their meal. For vegetarians, you can not do much better than these Tacos with spicy and smoky lentils. For meat eaters, think of the pulled pork in the form of Pernil Asado or shredded chicken, which can even use a rotisserie bird bought in the store. When it comes to toppings, aim for a mix of different flavors and textures. Try to include something creamy (sour cream), something crispy (jicama lances, pickled onions), something impertinent (salsa – green, red or both), something spicy (even sauce, jalapeños in brine), something cheese (queso fresh, any shredded variety you like) and something fresh (coriander, lettuce). And there are no tortilla cops here: grab corn or flour, or both. Whatever your preference.

WASHINGTON, DC – May 30th: Pizza: Essentials – photographed for voraciously at the Washington Post in Washington DC. (Photo by Tom McCorkle for the Washington Post / Food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for the Washington Post) (Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post, Lisa Cherkasky's food styling for The Washington Post)

Pizza. This could be the first thing you thought of when I said a birthday dinner. The words "pizza" and "party" go together. It's definitely a great way to go, but it can be a little more logistically challenging, especially if you are able to cook only one pizza at a time. So make sure you have lots of other nibbles to keep people satisfied or to invent a creative way to make the wait work. As long as the crowd has left, rather than each person eating their own pizza, try a small Iron Chef style competition. Give each guest the opportunity to create a cake, and then let the group taste and crown a winner. Try our recipe for the simplest pizza you've ever made, which is at the height of the name. You probably do not need my help to prepare condiments, but I'm always a fan of some less expected cheeses (brie, Gorgonzola, pepper Jack) along with the usual suspects (mozzarella, Parmigiano-Reggiano, goat). Collect some meat (peppers, ham, sausage), vegetables (onions, mushrooms, peppers), vegetables (rocket, basil) and exciting additions (hot honey, banana peppers). Done.

(Stacy Zarin Goldberg for The Washington Post, Lisa Cherkasky's food styling for The Washington Post)

Omelette. The omelette station was one of the most popular places in my college dining room. Go to any hotel breakfast buffet and you're probably going to witness the same phenomenon. This strategy works best with a rather small crowd, unless you want to get stuck in front of the hob for a very long time. But if you can prepare two pans at once and / or recruit an available kitchen partner, do it by all means. Start with a basic recipe: this omelette with corn and smoked mozzarella is perfect for riffs and edit from there. Distribute a wide range of diced vegetables, herbs, cheeses and meats. A green salad will complete the meal and give your guests something to sample while the eggs are baking (a muffin basket is always popular).

(Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post)

Kilos. This takes a little more work in advance, but still allows a lot of customization. I like the idea of ​​the contributor to Cathy Barrow, Everybody & # 39; s Chili Verde, of the Food section, because the chilli alone is vegan and gluten-free. The accompanying meatballs can be added by anyone who wants them. Arrange a number of other condiments, including coriander, sliced ​​shallot, sour cream, pickled or sliced ​​jalapeños and spicy sauce. Something like crunchy would also be welcome, including tortilla chips or even Fritos. Even the crispy bread by immersion would work.

(Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post)

Waffles. You can start turning out the waffles even before your friends arrive (keep them warm on a wire rack in a low-temperature oven). These wholegrain buckwheat waffles receive Ellie Krieger's seal of approval, which means they're on the healthy side, which means you can have fun with what you put on them. I'm thinking fresh fruit, fruit compote, maple syrup, slightly sweetened whipped cream, chocolate chips, finely chopped walnuts, granola and chocolate or caramel sauce if you're feeling more lenient.

More from Voraciously:

These tender and fluffy scones are so very British

A friendly reminder that you can turn baked potatoes into an excellent dinner

14 essential kitchen gifts for those who love to cook


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