” At a dinner party one should eat wisely but not too well, and talk well but not too wisely”
When I was growing up I used to watch my mother in awe as she cooked perfectly for a dinner party. I used to love helping her set the table and never in a million years did I think I would know how to throw my own successful dinner party. What I didn’t realise was I had an oven, delicious ingredients, good company, and time for trial and error. The beauty of cooking for people that know and love you, is that if you mess up a little it really is not such a big thing. Confidence is key.
Here are a couple of things I learned when I threw my first big dinner party.
Portions, portions, portions. I cannot stress how important planning is. You can’t buy anything until you’ve planned! I made the mistake of over catering. I ended up cooking a Chinese banquet for 17 people, but didn’t take into account that they would be sharing– and ended up with enough food to feed my whole neighbourhood. Literally! When calculating how many ingredients to buy, write down EVERYTHING and be sure to use a calculator to adjust the amounts. Also, to save yourself from any hassles, go shopping the day before so you have enough time to prepare.
When setting the table don’t forget that you can be as creative as you want to be, flowers and candles are a must. The fork is always on the left-hand side, the knife and soup spoon are placed next to each other and you work from the outside in, the dessert spoon is placed at the top of the placemat with the handle facing the knife side. Glasses are placed just above the knife and side plates are placed on the left-hand side, next to the fork. All this admin does sound quite boring but your guests will be impressed if you go the extra mile.
Timing. This is one of the most important aspects when attempting to throw an awesome party. One of the mistakes I made was choosing a menu that required me to cook everything just before serving, this means that I had no time to spend with my guests and all my time was spent in the kitchen. So take it from me and choose a simple menu, where the majority of the cooking can be done before everyone arrives. Make your guests feel comfortable, drinks must be flowing at all times and cleaning up should be done as you go a long, so as to save yourself the mission after everyone has left.
So just remember, planning, timing, good friends, good wine, good humour and most importantly good food will ensure a successful dinner party.
Good luck, please leave any comments or suggestions- I’m also learning.
Young and Hungry