The Skill Set: 7 Ways to Entertain When You’re (Beyond!) Busy

Rachel Cohen, co-founder of home brand Snowe, shares her party-planning shortcuts.

Rachel Cohen tapped into the home market by creating a brand that brings together the best of quality and practicality. After graduating from The Wharton School of Business with partner Andrés Modak, they were disheartened by the offerings at budget retailers and luxe department stores while moving into their New York City apartment. Seeking to fill the void, the pair created Snowe—a luxury label at a less-than-luxury cost with an eye towards thoughtful design. Cue in dishwasher-safe glasses, unfussy linens, the perfect hair-drying towel and more essentials for busy millennials. Read her story here and soak up her entertaining advice for women-on-the-go below. Thanksgiving is, in fact, just around the corner. The Skill Set: 7 Ways to Entertain When You’re Beyond Busy

The Skill Set: 7 Ways to Entertain When You’re Beyond Busy

1. Get Organized

I use a list app called Clear where you can create lists for ingredients you need to get or errands you need to run. It basically allows you to cross it off as you go, on the fly. 

2. Don’t overcomplicate your dishes

Preparation is everything. I like to get a lot of local ingredients at the farmers market so I can put out fresh vegetables, crudité or make a simple crostini. My favorite crostinis are all easy with no-cook ingredients: ricotta, truffle, honey and hazelnuts; tahini, heirloom tomatoes, cucumber and zaatar; and pickled Spanish boquerones with red peppers. 

3. Stick to a theme

A theme inspires creativity and narrows the options for what to serve and how to decorate. Recently, I went to Sicily and came back blown away by the food. So we did a Sicilian meal with friends, revolving around a tasting of some fantastic Sicilian wines. Since much of Sicilian food revolves around seafood, we focused on that. We started with a swordfish crudo and fresh sea urchin crostini. Then, we went on to caponata with eggplant, olives and octopus. We also did a bucatini with sardines, pine nuts, fennel, raisins and breadcrumbs—an amazing pasta with hints of Arab and North African influence. Finally, we made a grilled mackerel topped with tomatoes, capers, parsley and white wine. For dessert, we tried our hand at making Sicilian granita using local peaches.

4. Know who you’re inviting

We have a group of friends, eight including myself, that make a very informal supper club. We rotate hosting at different apartments every month and the host cooks the main meal while the other guests fill in the wine, cocktails, appetizers or desserts. 

5. Buy versatile dinnerware

The reason we designed the pieces we did is because we wanted everything to feel timeless and serve as a blank canvas that could change with your mood or the different seasons. Foundational pieces work with all tablescapes; they’re worth the investment. 

6. Enlist friends

When we have group dinners, everyone’s usually chipping in to clear the table, load the dishwasher, put things away. I know a lot of people always say, “No, don’t get up” and “Don’t lift a finger” and I think there’s something nice, special and totally hospitable about that. But from a realistic perspective, especially when it’s people that are close to you, that little extra help actually can save a lot of time on your end—and encourage you to plan another event soon!

7. Have a plan B

Should disaster strike—the new recipe is a bust, you’re hit with a crisis at work and don’t have time to prepare—order in take-out, re-plate it and serve it unapologetically. The point is that everyone is together. Don’t be hard on yourself.


Images courtesy of Ivanka Trump Photographer: Kenneth Grzymala