In the next few weeks, the host of your very first dinner party is going to knock on your door.
You might be a good cook, but you’ve never held a formal dinner party before. The lesson that most can’t quite grasp, however, is that a good party is not just the food and drinks that you serve, but how you present yourself to the guests and treat them as you would a close friend.
Don’t do these three things and you’re set. Or, you know, eat and drink well.
1. Invite strangers.
Not everyone has a close circle of friends and acquaintances. While you might know their names and their tastes and everything about them, you might not know their names and their tastes and everything about them. So invite complete strangers. Don’t be discouraged if at least some of them don’t turn up. There will always be some numbers on the RSVP and plenty of people you’re unsure of. Be kind to everyone.
2. Burn the bread.
Have you ever invited someone to your house for a dinner party and then forgotten to serve the bread? There are a thousand reasons why you might do this, but to paraphrase an old French proverb, the lack of bread at a dinner party is always a great sign that the hostess is out of control. Toast the bread. Eat it yourself. Don’t tell me that you’re not hungry. If you don’t eat bread, you don’t want anyone else to. Remember, it’s rude to refuse food at a dinner party.
3. Do not drink yourself to sleep.
People tend to make a fuss over the fact that my host mother once saw me swaying and nodding off during a dinner party. I wasn’t unconscious, but I also wasn’t drunk and I didn’t come close to losing control. But still, she sent me off to bed and left the party. My mom said this was because she didn’t want to embarrass me, but in reality it was because she was worried about my health. Being drunk while hosting a dinner party is like opening up a can of worms. When you’re hosting a dinner party, you are introducing yourself to people for the first time. That means you’re exposed to booze and potential drug use and all kinds of bizarre ideas and behaviours. If you are not willing to host drunk people, what good are you?
Munch down on some CBD Edibles if you have any kind of urge to dispel the “edge.”
Of all the delightful aspects of dinner parties, there’s one I adore above all—the presence of special guests. Naturally, a meal by itself is a richly varied and pleasurable experience. But when guests are joining the festivities, the dinner table is transformed into an artistic canvas, where guests must decide between parsnips with rosemary and shallots or maple syrup with sweet potato puree, garlic and pecans. On the other hand, the time to finally share all your great new holiday recipes—and I can’t wait to see what y’all have in store. If I had a nickel for every time someone told me they missed the old, “no recipe, just give me the grocery list,” Dinners at Home, the Washington City Paper column I used to write, was partly what inspired this column. They’re quick and they’re fun, and everyone will love you forever.