Most of us just love the thought of throwing a dinner party, but only a few of us have the courage to actually go through with it. Just why can organising a meal with friends catapult us into a frenzy of fear and even panic? Why does even the idea terrify so many of us?
Perhaps it’s the fact that our home is on display, perhaps dinner parties have an air of snobbery, perhaps we have lost sight of the fact that we are actually simply trying to gather a few friends and share some fine food.
I Blame Food Journalists
I reckon we have read to many “how to throw the perfect dinner party” type articles, have watched too many programs featuring beautifully laid tables and exquisite food, and have managed to intimidate each other away from organising such a meal. What a shame! Many of us have consciously or subconsciously decided just not to bother with dinner parties anymore.
I do blame all the food programs and features, everything is just too neat, there is absolutely no room for error and this perfection is quite suffocating!
Let’s try and do it differently! Let’s try getting back to basics and embracing the fact that we just want to share a nice meal with some friends and have a few laughs.
How to Throw a Stress-Free Dinner Party
There are a few fail-safe ways of organising a stress-free dinner party. In my experience the following work wonders:
- Choose the Guests Wisely: Don’t invite people you are not completely comfortable with. Don’t invite someone for their clout and influence. Invite friends who know your funny little ways and accept you – warts and all. This is a sure way of relaxing you and removing a lot of the stress.
- Choose a Menu You Can Handle: Don’t prepare a meal you’ve never cooked before. Take the easy road and select one of your old, tried and tested sure-to-succeed recipes.
- Do a lot of the Work in Advance: Shop well in advance and do all the prep as early as possible. That way, you’ll be spending less time in the kitchen and more time with your friends having a laugh.
- Enlist Some Help: If possible, get your partner or one of your friends to help. When you are busy in the kitchen she/he can act as the host and vice versa. It works and will take some more stress out of the occasion.
- The Ice Breaker – Start With a Cocktail and Nibbles: Cocktails are always a great way to start. Everyone likes an unusual cocktail. Make sure to have a few non-alcoholic options. Dish up some tasty nibbles and you’ll be off to the perfect start.
- Choose a Light Starter and Medium Main: Don’t satisfy your guests’ appetite with the starter Instead, keep it light and back it up with a simple, strong main course. Choose a main you make well – easily.
- Prepare Desserts in Advance: Desserts should be a breeze, simply because you can prepare them well in advance, and you can then sit back and enjoy the occasion.
- If You Don’t Know About Wines, Ask an Expert: Your wine should complement the meal perfectly. If you know little about wines, ask for the advice of an expert.
- Vegetarians and Teetotallers: Be sure to have a vegetarian option and drinks for those who prefer not to drink alcohol.
- Add a Few Subtle Touches: A nice presentation is easily created. Dishes can be made to look impressive with a sprinkle of coarse salt or freshly ground pepper. A twig of rosemary or a little parsley, a few rose petals or a dollop of Greek Yoghurt can make your dinner look ever so professional!
If you do all that, you are sure to enjoy your very own dinner party and make you want to throw another one soon!