Monday, 8 September 2008
Entertaining 101 - a beginners guide
Entertaining can take various forms and function. It can range from a casual tea for two to a more elaborate sit down dinner with a few friends or move completely to the other end of the spectrum by hosting a full blown dinner party. Or maybe just skip the dinner and just have a party – you know, move the furniture out of the way, fill the bathtub with ice and cans of beer and turn the stereo way up loud and invite practically everyone you know!
Sorry, that was just a little trip down memory lane for me. Yes, truth be told, I used to host these kind of parties when I was in University. 3 times a year for four years! Those parties were legendary. It was cheap too as we only used to provide some bags of chips, maybe a case or two of beer and everything else was strictly BYO (Bring Your Own – normally booze but includes whatever it is you want to drink/eat).
Those days are long gone now and entertaining today for me usually involves dinner or lunch for a few friends – usually not more than 6 people in total. Why 6? I suppose the size of my dining table has something to do with it! Also, 6 people really only means there are 4 guests as the other two are the hosts, so it becomes very cozy and you can take your time in the kitchen while the guests can sit down and enjoy each other’s company. It’s even better when the friends are really close friends as then everyone can just mingle about in the kitchen, peek under the pan covers and even help themselves to drinks!
When it comes to the menu, I like to keep it simple. Usually a starter, maybe a salad, something nice for the main meal and then dessert. Most of the time The Lovely Wife and I do all the cooking but it really doesn’t have to be that way. To me, there is really nothing wrong with getting take-away or doing a mix of bought food and home cooked food. You don’t need to serve anything complicated either. Do what you feel is right and don’t stress yourself out unnecessarily.
Ultimately what is important when you entertain is that you and your guests enjoy yourselves. And that is why the key to having a good dinner party is not really in what you serve or how pretty your bowls are. What is really important is the company!
I remember going out for dinner once with a bunch of friends to a really nice restaurant. One of our friends had brought along another friend who did nothing but complain about everything the whole night, so much so that none of us enjoyed ourselves and although the food was really good, to this day the only memory we have of that night was how that particularly irritating person ruined everything for us!
So if you are planning on entertaining, I would offer these simple tips. Keep it simple, keep it fun and above all get your guest list right! If you have the money though, some fireworks are always a great idea!!