How to Prepare a Dinner Party

The art of being a great host or hostess is in choosing your companions well, looking after their every need and making it all seem perfectly effortless. An excellent addition to the list, I always think, is never running out of drink!

Entertaining has changed dramati­cally over the last 20 years. Think about what your parents’ dinner parties were like. Formal dining rooms and seven-course dinners have evolved into group gatherings in the kitchen, with a less rigid and much healthier attitude towards food. Meat and two veg are no longer the expected fare. The availability of fresh herbs, ethnic ingredients and inspiring cookery books make imagina­tion the only limitation when organising a dinner party. Have fun with it.

Do as much as possible of the cooking in advance. Make sure that you know what your guests like to eat and, more importantly, if there is anything that they don’t or can’t eat. Plan a menu and ensure that you have all of the ingredi­ents. There is nothing worse than a panic minutes before your guests arrive. Study the recipes and make sure that everything can fit into the oven for the required cooking times. I remember a very large Thanksgiving turkey and a roasting pan that wouldn’t fit into my oven, with 12 guests arriving for dinner -it naturally ended in tears. Don’t take anything for granted!

Make it a rule to clean as you go. Try to get all of the preparation dishes washed before the guests arrive. There will be less to do when they leave and you will be thankful to be able to get to bed a bit earlier. Always finish cleaning up before you go to bed: as we all know, dirty dishes are horrible to face in the morning. Share the responsibility with those you live with.

For guests staying overnight for any length of time, make sure that you have stocked the guest room with both the essentials and the pleasures. If you have pets, make sure that your guests know in advance, just in case they have allergies. Give guests a tour of the house and let them know where you keep the coffee, tea and sugar so that they can help themselves if they are the first to get up. Make them comfortable. Be happy to let people into your life.

Filed Under: Lifestyle & Personality


About the Author: Alan Kennon lives a very happy life with two kids and a lovely wife. He likes to share his life time experiences with others about how they can improve their lifestyle and personality.

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