Megnut

Dinner party anxiety

People don’t want to be associated with the wrong kind of olive oil, points out the New York Times, in one of those articles that makes New Yorkers seem like crazy people. Ah, the stress of throwing a dinner party when you're a lunatic foodie! I avoid this problem by throwing low-key dinner parties and not freaking out, amazingly enough. What I do is plan a menu that can more or less entirely be prepared in advance, say a roast or a tart for a main course. When my guests arrive, we enjoy hors d'oeuvres and appertifs in the living room. They always looks a little anxious when I hang out with them, instead of dashing around the kitchen. Then after a while I say, "Is everyone ready to eat?" and I usually dress the salad (vinaigrette and salad already made in advance too), pull whatever's in the oven out of the oven, and voila! Dinner is served.

Sometimes at this point I have a dessert that's made and that goes into the oven to bake while we eat. Sometimes it's already prepared or doesn't need anything more than a simple assembly. It's amazing how nicely this whole approach to dinner parties can be. I still of course obsess over the menu, and buy high quality ingredients. But for me the fun is having people over, and enjoying their company. I don't care if I'm associated with the wrong kind of olive oil. I care that my friends head home happy and contented after a nice evening.

There are 5 responses

While I might end up cooking all day, I like having most of my dishes needed minimal effort to be complete when guests are ready to eat. This way I can actually join in the festivities.

What’s the point of throwing a dinner party if you can’t be a part of it?

As always a great read. Let us know about your next dinner party and what you put in that oven for the many dish and desert.

I think the reporter was tone-deaf the the difference between the enthusiasm and excitement we feel in creating a dinner, and some kind of pathological monomania. I don't know anyone afraid of guilt-by-wrong-olive-oil-association.

Excellent point. I think that genuine foodies can appreciate good intentions and conviviality much more than the "right" olive oil.

I agree with you. My guests always say there is something about this house and it is so easy for you to entertain. They do not realize a
little work goes on behind the scenes in advance.
I enjoy your site. Been reading you for sometime and you are
always right on target.

Sammie Q a/k/a The Skinny Cook

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