Thursday, September 1, 2016

Entertaining

"My First Dinner Party"

Back when being a housewife was just the assumed roll for a woman, one of your core responsibilities 

was to be the perfect hostess. Especially when it comes to entertaining! To the 1950's (&60's) 

housewife, entertaining was like an art form. And since I am trying to modernize the art of housewifery, 

I thought it was about time to start brushing up on my hostessing skills. And what better way to do that, 

then to throw my very first dinner party! 


Ok, so let's jump in. I decided to host some of my absolutely favorite people in the world. My mother, 

and best friends Shari, MaryBeth, and Emilie. I knew they would be honest, and ton of fun. So let's 

jump into some fun tips I learned. 


Plan your meal/theme
I decided to keep it simple this time, I didn't theme anything I just wanted to focus on food and 

presentation. So for this meal I chose 4 courses. Appetizers, soup, main course, dessert & coffee. When 

planning out your meal, think of your colors, tt seems silly, but my mom told me that when she was in 

Home Economics, they always taught about making your plate look beautiful! So try not to make 

Salmon, carrots, and pumpkin soup. Think colorful! And think about taste pallet, and your timing. For 

example, you may not want to make homemade bread, beef wellington, and a souffl√© your first run. All 

of those things require being served hot and fresh, and all need your oven.

 Here was my exact menu:
Appetizer: Goat cheese & fruit
Soup: Mushroom Bisque
Main Course: Chicken Kiev, Asparagus, New Potatoes
Dessert: Chocolate Cake


Don't break the cardinal rule!
"Never experiment with a new dish for a party. If you've found a recipe that sounds exciting, give it a 

test run on the family before presenting it to guests. This may mean investing a few extra dollars in a 

dress rehearsal, but if it spares you the embarrassment of failure or the disappointment of a less than 

smashing success, it's worth the small tab."

-Betty Crocker, Hostess Handbook


I quote this because I broke the cardinal rule! Other than the appetizers, and the sides, I had never made 

any of these recipes before. And I can tell you from first hand experience, I put a lot of unnecessary 

stress on myself by doing this. The only thing that can be tricky about cooking for close friends and 

family, is that they have most likely tried all of your most impressive dishes before. And let's be honest, 

12% of the reason we throw dinner parties is to impress our guests with the fact that we are really an 

undercover chef. But I know now for the next party, I will definitely make something I know, or test 

my recipes on my live-in Guinea pig, Justin.


Have a schedule
In every way, have a schedule. An oven schedule, a cleaning schedule, a decorating schedule. 

Things to do the day before:
Clean your home
Bake anything you can make ahead, bread, cakes
Make sure all of your serving dishes, and plates are cleaned and ready to go

Things to do the day of:
Make salad dressings
Prepare drinks, punch, tea..
Get ready in plenty of time, and apron it up!


And things to do the hour before:
 (I just used my iPhone and told Siri to remind me of things, such as…)
Remind me at 6 to light candles
6:15 set the table
6:30 to warm bread
6:45 set out hors d'oeuvres


Think about when the party is over
As you can see, these plates are vintage. I got the whole set at the flea market, and the woman was 

telling me about how these should never be washed in the dishwasher. Really not that bad in theory, 

but when you are using the serving platter, dinner plates, soup bowls, dessert bowls, coffee cups and 

saucers. Then you absolutely need to keep in mind having a smooth transition between courses without 

causing a "scene", meaning making everyone wait on you to wash dishes before they can eat the next 

course. However, no one wants to stay up until 11pm washing dishes, and then have to wake up the 

next morning to put them all away. So right before everyone arrived, I filled up my sink 1/4 of the way 

with boiling hot water and dish soap. Then when everyone finished each course, I just put the plates 

and silverware in the water, and then after everyone left, all you need to do is drain the water, and rinse 

and dry your dishes! Problem solved!


Think space & budget
So, we are all dealing with different size spaces, and budgets for a party. But just try to keep in mind 

what you can do, and afford. And just like I said in my last post on grocery shopping , don't forget to 

shop your pantry first. See what you have. You may just be short 1-5 ingredients for a whole dinner. 

And now to space, my kitchen is not only open to the living room, but also to our teeny tiny dining 

area. So when entertaining, I always need to be aware of how much time I want to spend speed 

cleaning before people get there. First, I always make a conscious effort to make sure that our 

dishwasher is cleaned out before a party. That way as I am cooking, I can just rinse things off, and load 

it into the dishwasher.


Guys, this book is so for real. It uses to be my Grandma Nadyne's, so that makes it all the more special 

for me to reference. My goal is to use this as my guide to host all manner of parties. Things definitely 

didn't go perfectly the first time, but I plan on continuing to host until I perfect it! So hang around if you 

want to see some more hostess tips, and all of the recipes for my dinner!


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