Sunday, August 30, 2009

Less is More ....

I was watching a cake challenge show on the Food Network tonight and heard a phrase that is SO appropriate in the food world: "Less is more ... but in this case, less is more WORK!"

In the cake side of my business, brides will tell me they want a simple cake "...just something easy. No borders or anything." I'll smile and tell them, "Oh you want me to work harder on your cake, huh?" I then explain that the border covers the seam where the top and side of the icing meets and when they request no border, then I have to work harder to make a smooth transition from top to side. Less (decoration) is more (work).

Please don't misunderstand. I do borderless cakes all the time. But it's such a great example of how something "simple" is perceived to be "easier". Less ... is more.

In the catering side of my business, I get a number of brides who come into the shop with the idea of "we're just having appetizers because we have a tight budget." While appetizers can be much cheaper than having a plated, served dinner, sometimes a buffet can be cheaper or about the same price as just appetizers.

Why? Because smaller food is more work. Less ..... is more.

Picture it. If you need one single hot vegetable, such as buttered corn for 25 people, a caterer opens a big can of corn or opens a couple of bags of frozen corn, throws it on top of the stove for a few minutes, and bingo-bango, you got corn for 25 people. One can ... one pan .... you're done.

But ..... if you want one enough of one single appetizer to feed 25 people, there are multiple steps that have to be done 25 times. It takes much longer to prepare each individual smaller food. And with smaller foods, a hostess needs to plan on more pieces per person. Less (food per bite) is more (bites needed).

As you work on a tight budget, don't assume "little foods have a little price tag", which is the most common misconception I see. Talk to your caterer. See what they can work up for you. It may work out that appetizers are your best bet for your budget. But you might find you can get a simple buffet for the same or cheaper price than a lot of appetizer items.

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