HOW DO YOU DO: ENTERTAIN IT
These days are numbered/Winter is coming, and so I'm re-acclimating like NOW to The Idea of Entertaining. Because not only will throwing dinner parties likely be the only way to see your friends once the cold hits and we all go into hibernation, but the holidays are impending and your long-distance buddies/siblings/parents are in town and ooooooops you got tipsy and accidentally invited everyone over for cocktails on Friday and so-and-so is bringing his girlfriend and can her friend come too? As follows, a few things I keep in mind, re: having people over:
GO WITH WHAT YOU KNOW. My first, college-era dinner party was a fuck up of monumental proportions. It involved a curry and lentils, and also a samosa situation, 2/3 of which I'd never laid hands on (but looked really good in Saveur). Like cooking? Make something you know you'll nail. Not so much? Order a pizza and make it a movie night. Should you find yourself in a situation where you really need to impress (in-laws, etc) and your skills are shaky, do a dry run the week before, take notes, and fire up round 2 night of; if that sounds like way too much work then CAN IT and order in something impressive. You'll probably spend less money than you would have at Whole Foods, and you'll avoid being stuck (or worse, hiding) in the kitchen all night.
CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE: via Bon Appetit, Food52's Amanda Hesser imparted the advice "don't be a martyr," and it's stuck with me hard. If someone offers to bring dessert/wine/etc, take them up on it. It's less for you to do and less to stress about. Get over any ideas you have that anyone expects some bazonkers five course meal – if the idea of appetizers are overwhelming, you don't have to serve them. You really, really don't. A dinner party means dinner at home, and you're NOT a restaurant, and are YOU ever anything short of grateful and enamored of anything that's brought out to you on a platter at someone else's place? No, because you're not a jerk, and it's likely whomever you're inviting over isn't, either.
WHO CARES. So you don't have enough chairs? OH WELL. No one will mind sitting on the floor (also, read this). Latkes didn't come together? THAT HASH LOOKS GREAT! Put an egg on it. It's probably better now. Somebody showed up with a friend and their friend and one more friend and you only had 6 plates? Discreetly excuse yourself to knock on your neighbors door and borrow what you need, or pull out the bowls. No one's going to ask why things are mismatched because frankly, NO ONE CARES. Every step you take to thrill and wow and delight with menu and decor and florals is above and beyond x one million, and at the end of the day people are just glad to be out of their house, reveling in your way-chill and super-competent presence.
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