Have you ever had that moment before entertaining when you feel completely overwhelmed and that nothing’s coming together? It's TERRIBLE and once you've experienced it, you never want to feel that again. Here are some tips and tricks we've compiled to help you throw a stress-free dinner party.
This is probably the most important rule that any seasoned host follows. Planning well in advance not only saves you a ton of last minute stress, but it can be a crucial aspect to keeping your guests feeling comfortable and welcome. Double check to make sure you have all of the ingredients you need a few days before. Save time by chopping certain ingredients the night before or morning of. Do you have all of the necessary kitchenware required to make a recipe? If not, make sure you buy them well in advance and test them out a few times.
As great as the idea may seem, trying a new recipe for guests can go either two ways: A huge success or an ultimate failure. Nothing's quite as stressful as realizing your new experimental sauce has gone awry and has diluted to the point of no return. Sometimes overconfidence in our own cooking can be the cause of a dinner disaster. It’s best to avoid this stress and potential mishap by making something you’ve made a few times before. If you are going to make something new, at least use ingredients that you’re familiar with and have used before. Prep your kitchen accordingly by making sure it’s organized and clean to make the cooking process as easy as possible.
Nothing’s as awkward as sitting at a table with all strangers. Conversation can be stale and the amount of silent pauses can make your guests feel uncomfortable. If you’re the only thing you’re guests have in common, then it may be time to reconsider the guest list. If you do plan on inviting guests who haven’t had the chance to meet one another, think of conversation pieces ahead. Do they have any of the same interests or hobbies? Also, think beforehand if they have any mutual connections with other friends or people they may know in the industry they work in.
Have you ever been to a dinner party where they’ve served something you don’t eat? If the answer’s yes, then you know how horribly awkward it can be. Serving a lobster dinner when one of your guests doesn’t eat seafood? Or preparing a Thai-peanut salad dressing for someone with a peanut allergy? Yikes, sounds awkward! Avoid this by asking guests in advance if they have any dietary restrictions. If your heart is set on making a dish that clashes with a guest’s preference palette, make sure you prepare a substitute meal so they aren’t left hungry and uncomfortable.
Remember, the main purpose of having a dinner party is to get people together, have a few laughs, and eat great food. Yes, stress is a given, especially when you have ten people coming over and the house is a mess. Preparing a meal on top of that can be a recipe for disaster, if you don’t play your cards right. At the end of the day, remember that your guests are there for you and want to see you sit down and relax. So space your time out between courses and make sure to hang up the cooking gloves every now and then. Your guests want to be entertained and don’t want to you to be in the kitchen all night.
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