As usual, I got too flustered to photograph the food! My brother had flown in from overseas to run the Air Force marathon. We wanted to have a "welcome home" party, inviting all the friends and family to wish him well.
My grandparents had 10 children, so our enormous family gatherings always included paper plates. Cleanup was enough effort without 50 plates to wash! Since we only expected 20-25 people, I pulled out my stash of blue-and-white patterned plates. I planned a fork-only menu to minimize silverware. I put dessert forks and dessert plates on a separate counter.
We served the food on my kitchen island. Dirty dishes in the sink would have spoiled the fun, so I set a dishpan on a tiny table next to the trash can. This system worked beautifully! At the end of the party, I loaded the neatly stacked dishes directly into the dishwasher. Cheaper and almost as easy as paper.
Does your family use real or plastic to entertain? Do you have any tricks for managing the cleanup?