Entertaining, Family Style

My apartment is, luckily, big enough to entertain. So is my galley kitchen. Not huge crowds, mind you, but the occasional small dinner party (with plenty of food prep the day before, of course). Though I’ll be honest: cramming eight family members into an apartment which usually sees foot traffic of only two per day? About as fun as basting a turkey for twenty.

Yet, that was my fate last Saturday, when my parents, sister, both sets of grandparents, and step-grandmother arrived to spend a long weekend hanging out at my comfortable—but alas, far from palatial—abode. With their loads of suitcases and bags came the age-old question: What to serve?

A lasagna or a roast leg of lamb both seemed enough to feed a crowd, but faced with the prospect of hours of time in the kitchen that I just didn’t have, I developed what I believe to be a fool-proof family-visit formula. Feel free to use it as a guide this Memorial Day while entertaining your own holiday guests:

Pizza from Pino’s on Saturday, a basic (but delicious) steakhouse meal at Smith & Wollensky Sunday, and a gorgeous smoked fish platter with bagels from the Butcherie in Brookline on Monday morning, served right before wishing my family adieu. Oh, and of course, a batch of cinnamon buns for good measure.

I know, I know. It’s a simple menu. Even crude. But brilliant. Because crowds can be picky. Heck, they can even be whiny. And making it easier on yourself by eliminating the trips to the oven (or grill) also makes it more enjoyable for them. So do yourself a favor and make your reservation at Banq after the troops leave: For Memorial Day weekend, stick with something breezy, all-American, and unfussy enough to appeal to any taste.