The friendship sphere of life is a weird place to assign goals, yet I do it anyway. Last year, I focused on broadening our connections to school parents. We hosted a number of families (both parents and kids) for get-togethers. I also organized a class-wide social event and was a room parent.
This year, I’m focusing on a different kind of social event.
Goal: Host 4 Dinner Parties
We already knocked one out, on New Years Eve. The party ended at about 12:30 AM, so yes, I am claiming it on a technicality. The theme was “Auld Lang Syne” as this was a group of old friends. We planned an old school Americana menu: shrimp cocktail, caesar salad, roasted potatoes with rosemary, London Broil and Ruth Reichl’s caramel glazed gingered applesauce cake (see photo above). My husband made “old pal” cocktails. We split the cooking and cleaning duties evenly.
What I like about dinner parties is you don’t have to worry about making restaurant reservations and if you are the host, driving and parking in a crowded urban area. With this particular group of friends, who are parents, all of our kids are also friends. So the kids watched “A Series of Unfortunate Events” downstairs together (no babysitter needed – score!) while the adults enjoyed our evening upstairs. When the ball dropped on TV, we all came together with noise makers and sang “Auld Lang Syne” poorly.
There is something lovely and satisfying about entertaining people you like. The downside is obvious–lots of cleaning, cooking and it can be stressful (what if your meal is a disaster?). But, there are also lots of ways to make entertaining easier. You obviously don’t HAVE to cook. With the current options for delivery out there, you can order all kinds of cuisine. You can also host a potluck, to ease cooking pressures. We scheduled our cleaning service for the day before, which helped us make the house presentable.
My parents threw dinner parties frequently when I was growing up, and I have pleasant memories of sitting at the top of the stairs in my nightgown, listening to the lively chatter. My mom made fantastic food, like Steak Diane and chocolate mousse–she went through a major Julia Child phase. I remember helping to set the table with fancy plates and linen, and helped prepare some of the dishes. My in-laws entertain a lot as well, and my father-in-law is the cook for those events. They have perfected a system over the years so that they can easily entertain for groups of 40 (holidays) or 4.
Other than book clubs and things like kids birthday parties, I do feel like entertaining has gone out of style for most people, at least where I live. So I’d like to do my small part to revive it.
Do you entertain or throw dinner parties? Why or why not?
Read more about my 2019 goals: