Don't Make Them Hunt for a Peeler
If guests are going to pitch in, make it easy for them, Hesser suggests. Show them where the tools and ingredients you're asking them to use are. Plus, if you've already put the knives, vegetable peeler, salad bowl and cutting board on the counter, you won't have to ask Aunt Mary to move out of your way so you can open up the drawer or cabinet she's standing in front of for the 800th time.
Suggest They Entertain You Instead
There are some guests who feel compelled to offer to help and then ask a question like, "What are these nuts?" in reference to the garlic cloves on the counter (true story). This is when you say, "Why don't you pour yourself a drink and tell me the latest gossip while I cook?" That way, you're not being abandoned in the kitchen, but you're also not putting yourself in the awkward and stressful situation of having to coach a culinary newbie through every single step (and eat dinner sometime around midnight).
Send Them Outside
In warm weather, jobs like shucking corn, snapping the ends off of green beans and peeling potatoes are better done outdoors, where stray bits of corn silk or potato peel can just blow away (and where assistants will be out of your way). And if you have an herb garden, ask a guest to go out and grab you a handful of basil, thyme or whatever you need.
Next: 22 one-bite appetizers
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