The countdown has begun for my first-ever dinner party which is less than a week away. Of course, I’ve had friends over before, but usually, they were impromptu affairs – beer and Thai take-out with old friends.
This time, I’m going all out. I already sprung for the fancy letterpress invitations and now I’m sparing no expense in planning the big event. I’ve inquired about renting a table and chairs and am thinking I might spring for the table cloth, linen napkins, place settings and silverware. I’m not sure if I’ve got any other options unless I want to serve dinner on paper plates with plastic cutlery and paper napkins (I don’t).
After taking requests and mulling over the suggestions, I have finally decided what I’m going to serve. I’m tempted to be sheepish about it and hold off until I report back afterward. But I know that I can’t keep a secret and I don’t want to keep you waiting.
So here is the (tentative) menu:
1. Green salad
2. Slow-Cooker Beef Burgundy from The Best Slow & Easy Recipes
3. Roasted Brussels Sprouts Tossed with Balsamic Vinegar and Bacon
4. Baguette (but of course!)
5. Apple Spice Cake from The Joy of Cooking accompanied with Vanilla ice cream (not homemade, I’m afraid) and coffee/tea
6. Cheese Course
I may serve some pate and grapes to start things off. As you can tell, I'm trying to keep things relatively simple and stick to dishes a few quality dishes I can prepare in advance.
I don't want to be stressing when the guests arrive. I'd rather be spending time enjoying my guests than scrambling in the kitchen.
As the wonderful writer Laura Shaine Cunningham wrote:
The best dinner parties are those where the hostess appears not taxed, but relaxed. What do guests truly want? To be welcomed, and to talk. If the dinner is too studied, it can become a funeral for food — guests taking choreographed sips and nibbles, conversation as strained as the purée.
A little imperfection makes everyone feel at home. The slapdash but happy hostess has happy guests.
Along those lines, I am guessing that my guests will feel at home because this slapdash hostess is destined to be imperfect and hopefully, happy.