Leave people wanting more. This is a rule for life, but it can be challenging to sustain when one is prone to exuberance.
There are a few key ingredients that can make an evening culminate with such cadence one will be begging for more. It settles on the balance between restraint and generosity. As host of this party, a little bit of planning can make all the difference. Let’s discover how to host an imperfect dinner party. Consider the table setting, the guest list, and the type of ambiance you would like at your party. Now that you know what you want relinquish all of your previous conventions and consider the following guidelines.
The guest list. The idea you would invite lots of one type because they would all have things in common; needs to be dispensed of immediately. Because let’s face it, an entire table of accountants is never a good idea. It’s all about diversity. Consider the following.
It would be best if you had lots of different personalities. They can be any mix you choose. Here are some suggestions. A political journalist; more than one, and the night becomes a bore. No more than a couple of creatives; as they are too busy thinking and by the time they have something to say, the moment has passed. A radio announcer can be super funny, but they need to be separated from the political journalist. Perhaps a lawyer, good negotiators when it all gets a bit rowdy. A real estate agent. A real estate agent, you say, excellent once things are going and everyone is selling their soul to the highest bidder. I do love the world and all the people in it. So, you get it; you can invite anyone. The idea is to ask all different types of people, and you can dilute each other most delightfully throughout an evening.
The food. Food is about labour and love. It is not about expensive kitchen appliances or science, well not at my place anyway. Food needs to be sensual and satisfying. Act like you have made an effort, even if you have not. People love to be spoilt. Themes are okay so long as you don’t take them too far—plan for your skill level. You do not want to feel stressed during a dinner party. That may mean you need to buy food. A dinner party should be about enjoyment, not an obligation. Judge your food choices based on your guests.
So while a warm gooey Brie laced with honey that drips down your fingers may be perfect for your peers…who doesn’t love to lick the stickiness from the tips of one’s fingers. It may not be the best choice for that dinner with your boss.
Be restrained when required. Do not feed your guests too much. You do not want them feeling full or sleepy, converse to that, you don’t want them to have to stop for pizza on the way home. Be generous but measured. As a guideline, I serve a set entrée and main and then serve cheese as a third course shared plate. Those that are still hungry can be satiated here.
The fragrance of fresh figs on a cheese plate in autumn. Such a lush, sweet forbidden fruit. Thoughts of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, it was a fig, not an apple. Think about it…the softness, the colour, the texture, the taste.
Alcohol. It is your responsibility as a host to make sure your guests make it home safely, so have a plan in place before the fun begins. There is this sweet spot with alcohol. You don’t want your guests to feel shabby tomorrow, but you want them to have a good time. It is lovely to receive flowers as a host, but never with an apology note the next day. Once again, it would help if you found an equilibrium between generosity and restraint. For me, it’s that space between the unconscious mind and the ideal, where everything is lovely. It’s something different for everyone. By now, it’s time to migrate to the lounge for some dessert and relaxation.
You only need one more ingredient, an excellent storyteller, as they can get everyone in the mood. Not guess what happened when I went to donate blood the other day genre; more I just visited Heide Museum of Modern Art, and I found it quite distracting.
“Does everyone know what went on there? There was this insane love story between John and Sunday that involved incredible sexual freedom. Sunday and Sidney Nolan had this ferocious affair when he painted the Ned Kelly series right there at that house. And all the while, under John’s nose, I think he would watch them. And then every day they would sit down to afternoon tea; like proper, civilised people. Can you imagine that?”
We can all imagine that. A hall pass every day of the week. We are way more contained than that. Never would I ever…and you, my deft host, have just moved the bar so far towards the imperfect. Strap yourself in; because things are about to get crazy.
Post Script Disclaimer: Adults may find themselves swimming in their underwear in the middle of the night, stealing street signs, or watching the sun come up. But they are nowhere near as naughty as John and Sunday. And that is how to host the imperfect dinner party.
A guide to good manners. Should you be left wanton after reading thishttps://www.penguin.com.au/books/a-guide-to-australian-etiquette-9780143566687
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