For a Stag Party, buffet service is usually staged. This is almost always necessary, as the hostess disappears (by request) after she has made all the preparation. She will have made sure that all of the necessary serving dishes have been arranged on the buffet table. Unless the group is too large, places will be already set at the dining table, as one of the privileges that men demand at a stag party is firm anchorage for elbows as well as for plates. The host will usually insist that large linen napkins be furnished, although he may settle for the large non-flimsy double paper napkin.
Menus for stag parties differ little from those planned for any buffet meal (see previous section), except perhaps a larger variety of hearty foods may be offered. Boiled franks and sauerkraut are always popular, flanked by a bubbling bean pot or the meal might consist of cold turkey, ham, tongue, a variety of other cold cuts, and a casserole of scalloped or creamed potatoes or potato salad. Sometimes the man’s choice will be mashed sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows, for oddly enough it seems to be men rather than women who like this sweet dish with a main course. All hot foods can be prepared beforehand and kept hot in the warming oven until the group is hungry enough for the meal. A salad may be omitted if a variety of relishes is supplied although the host may enjoy showing his ability at mixing and tossing a salad. All the ingredients may be ready and assembled on a tray. Or, an old-fashioned cole slaw is a practical choice, as all men seem to like it, and it can be made beforehand and stored in the refrigerator without danger of wilting.
Buttered rolls or garlic bread may be wrapped in foil or heavy paper and placed in the warming oven. Sliced buttered rye bread may be wrapped and stored in the refrigerator for service with a cheese tray, which may be part of the main course or else served as the dessert. In the latter case, a bowl of mixed fruit may be already in place on the buffet table. If a sweet dessert is planned, it should be the host’s favorite and this usually turns out to be some form of pie.
Coffee can be prepared ahead of time in an automatic electric coffee maker, otherwise, in order that coffee may be quickly and easily made to serve either with the main course or with dessert, it is a good idea to have the ground coffee measured and in the pot or pots, and to have the kettle filled with fresh cold water ready for boiling. A supply of beer and soft drinks should be chilling in the refrigerator and arrangements should, of course, be made to have plenty of ice on hand for other types of drinks.
The host will need no suggestions about mixing the pre-dinner drinks or arranging on the bar the ingredients for short and long drinks that the guests may mix themselves. Recipes for classic and other appropriate drinks will be found under “Cocktail Parties.” Bowls of popcorn, potato chips, plates of dill pickles and olives and a variety of salty appetizers such as herring and anchovies may also be on the bar.
Before the hostess disappears from the scene, she should brief the host in regard to his last-minute responsibilities unless, of course, he has been accustomed to share these at other buffet parties. A written list is convenient. If the hostess is allowed to remain in the house, she should retire to the upper regions where she can be on call if the necessity arises. After the party is over, her help will be welcomed in clearing up. If the host is satisfied that a good time was had by all, she will enjoy talking over the party’s success and will feel well repaid for her behind-the-scene efforts.