I just set out a stack of bowls, a bunch of spoons, maybe rolls or cornbread, a bottle of hot sauce and call ‘er done. I love this method better than having an official “supper time” for several reasons:
- Number one is I don’t have to miss any of the party action because I’ve already done my cooking. I can wash my hands, pour myself a cold one and unwind with my company.
- I also like this because people can eat when they want. Sometimes social gatherings can get too stuffy if everyone’s on a schedule. If you’re hungry, go get you a bowl. If not, it’ll still be there when you’re ready.
- When you cook a one-pot meal like this, you don’t have to make 40-leven side dishes either. Doing it this way says, “Here’s y’all some snacks, supper’s on the stove when you’re ready and if you’re looking for the linen napkins you’re at the wrong house!” It kind of establishes a casual pace for the evening and that’s how I usually like to roll.
- Eating like this is great when there are lots of kids around too. Everything doesn’t come to a screeching halt when I holler “supper’s ready!” and half the adults have to go make plates for the kids.
- When everyone’s eating on their own schedule, you don’t have to worry about seating (or place settings, fixing drinks, etc.). It can be hard accommodating 20 people with a spot at the dinner table.
- This is also great on game day or when you’ve got something going on outside because nobody’s going to miss that big interception or their turn at cornhole because they’re fourteenth in line waiting to fix their plate.
If you can’t find the 15-bean soup mix in your local grocery store, ask for it! My grocery store now carries all sorts of products they didn’t have before simply because I asked for them. Just ask the cashier who to talk to to request a product and s/he will point you in the right direction. My store has a list at the Customer Service desk where they notate products their customers' request.