Thinking about dinner parties

The Toronto Public Library had “Julie & Julia”, so we watched it. (A movie about cooking! Of course.) I smiled at the bouef bourgignon, which W- had made for me once, and the aspics, which I’d encountered in the Joy of Cooking but have not dared to try. It was a good movie, and we both enjoyed it a lot.

Reflecting on it, I realized that I want to get back into hosting parties. However, Saturday afternoons are a good time to do woodworking, and circular saws do not go well with conversation. We probably shouldn’t spend every weekend woodworking, anyway. So I will just have to ignore that niggling itch of there-are-only-so-many-weekends-in-summer-and-only-so-many-daylight-hours desperation, work out some kind of schedule that accommodates the items W- and I want to build, and overlook the stacks of tools and lumber that make our living room unsuitable for company. After all, people have always just hung out in the kitchen.

I remember what it was like to learn how to cook on my own, dealing with too many leftovers (ah, supermarket sizes) and not enough tools. With an eat-in kitchen, well-stocked cabinets, and a wonderful garden with plenty of fresh herbs and vegetables, it would be great to help friends learn how to cook, particularly if I can pick up new recipes along the way. And now that the cats are no longer furiously shedding their spring coats, friends may breathe a little easier…

Maybe some kind of a supper club, for every other Saturday, or once a month at the latest? Friends can either bring whatever recipe they want to try, or come over early and prepare things in the kitchen. It shall have to be a homey atmosphere so that I don’t feel self-conscious about, say, having to clear papers off the table. Saturdays mean we can raid the farmer’s market or head to the supermarket if the pickings aren’t good, and people have the afternoon to come and cook if they want to.

I shifted to tea parties for a number of reasons. Hosting an open house meant that people could drop by whenever they were available, instead of being there at a certain time in order to sit down for dinner. Small treats meant that it was easy to accommodate different dietary restrictions. Maybe I can alternate tea parties and dinner parties, or work out a rhythm with other friends who like hosting. =) Or I can get back into dinner parties when I’ve gotten the hang of preparing make-ahead casseroles and other good dishes for entertaining…

I have a tea party on July 10, so I think I’ll keep it as an afternoon tea party, and maybe look into preparing some of those interesting salads in one of Jamie Oliver’s cookbooks. Hmm…

  • @sacha Before we had kids, we would host dinner parties with themes, e.g. we hat a hat party where people came with distinctive hats, and a bring-someone-we-don’t-know party where we got to meet a few people that we had heard about but never actually met.

    While food is important, a large group requires a different strategy. We now have an exceptionally large table — it seats 12 — but that wasn’t the case in our early years. We ended up making stews and serving with rice, which, with salads and desserts contributed by friends, scales up pretty well.

    That was in the days when I used to stay up later ….