14 Party Essentials Everyone Should Have

Everything to stock up on to make your next get-together, big or small, stress-free

Whether you invite friends over after work for an impromptu drink or entertain an unexpected guest for dinner, having a pantry stocked full of shelf-stable foodstuffs to rely on is a secret of many experienced hosts. Event planner Karen Bussen calls it her “Party Pantry” — a place in your home, be it a shelf, drawer, or closet, where you can stash away products to pull out when you need something to serve, but have no time to make something or run to the store.

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Annette Joseph has dedicated a large enough space for her pantry that in addition to party staples, she collects foodstuffs that allow her to throw together a delicious meal in just minutes — like tomato sauce and fine dried pastas. All she needs to do is open a couple bottles of wine, set out some snacks in bowls, and she’s ready to go. “That way, when I run into a friend and make last-minute plans for a relaxed Sunday supper, most of what I need I’ve already got,” she explains.

There is no time like right now to begin stocking up for your next get-together to make it easy and stress-free. Begin with a bunch of long-lasting food items like crackers, marinated olives, cocktail nuts, salsas, and spreads, suggests Bussen. Clodagh McKenna, the author of Homemade, always has a can of chickpeas on hand to make homemade hummus in a flash as well as good chocolate for serving alone (or making truffles). And don’t neglect your liquor stash. The hard stuff aside, it never hurts to have a couple of bottles of white or sparkling wine chilling in the fridge. That way, you can always offer guests a small bite to eat and a cold beer or glass of wine.

Click here to see the 14 Party Essentials to Have in Your Pantry Slideshow.

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