Dinner Parties: Entertaining with Ease

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Here's a riddle for you:

Q:  What's better than a sassy, domesticated redhead who writes a blog?  

Ok, I'll admit, that's a trick question.  Because obviously you'd answer "Duh!  There's NOTHING better than a sassy, domesticated blogging redhead!", and you'd be right.   Except in this case, the answer happens to be...

A:  TWO sassy, domesticated blogging redheads!  

Yep, you read that right.  Two!  And I have a surprise for all you lovely, fabulous readers...

May I introduce my good friend Betty, who blogs over at SweetBettysBlog and who just so happens to also be a sassy, craftsy, fashionable redhead with a drive to BAKE ALL THE THINGS!   We go waaay back to our mutual days in college, when we were bombshells-in-training and bonded over our mutual love of dance, baking, and all things chocolate.    She's graciously agreed to share some of her insight here as well, and you can expect to see more of her in the upcoming months as we pop over to each other's blogs like good friends dropping in for tea.    

I know you're excited.   I sure am!

So without further ado, I give you the classy and oh-so-fabulous Betty...


One of my favorite things to do is cook for friends. There is a simple joy in making meals for others, the conversation around the table, not to mention I have a tendency to cook more than is required for one person! But dinner parties can be terrifying things if you aren’t used to it. There is all the planning, the invites, the tablescapes, the grocery shopping, and then you finally get to the cooking itself. But I don’t let that stop me, and neither should you. Over the years I have had my fair share of amazing parties, and a few that didn’t go so well. All of them have taught me a few things. So gather close boys and girls, here are the Betty rules for being a host(ess).

Rule Number 1 – Follow the wisdom of a few French (influenced) women.
In the manner of Julia Child, roll with accidents. All mistakes are just teachable moments and can lead to some good laughs in the kitchen! Don’t let one burned dish ruin your entire evening, it isn’t worth it! Second impeccable lady to listen to, Coco Chanel. When you finish planning, take one thing away. One twist to the menu, one item off the table. You will thank yourself later.

Rule Number 2 – Take advantage of what you already have.
Do you have some fresh herbs in the fridge? Pick a dish that uses them! Do you have something from you CSA box you just haven’t used yet? Make that the star of the show! Those mismatched plates from your grandmother? They make fabulous serving plates for hors d’oeuvres and desserts! You don’t need to have a complete china set to entertain, as long as you have enough plates for dinner.

Rule Number 3 – Plan ahead.
Make a menu. Take supply inventory and make a shopping list. That way you don’t end up with a ton of onion and no garlic! Plan how you are going to serve your courses, or if you even have courses! Buffet style parties are a great low key option, especially for larger parties. Most importantly plan your schedule. When do you need to start the main course? When should your guests arrive? When are you going to do all your prep work? Those vegetables are not going to magically chop themselves!

Rule Number 4 – Do not forget your guests.
In all the hustle and bustle of cooking and serving and cleaning up it can be easy to get too focused on the kitchen. But the point of a dinner party, that is truly the company. Your soufflé can fail, you may run out of coffee, but your company will still be there! If you follow Rule Number 3 then you should be able to relax and enjoy your own evening.

So get thee to a cookbook you have been meaning to try, and invite a few friends over. Though it is best to start small with just a few people till you figure out what works for you!

Love and aprons,


PS For the record, I don’t tablescape. I can’t justify putting all those trinkets on the table when I am just going to have to try and shuffle them around to fit the actual dinner on the table.

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One Response to “Dinner Parties: Entertaining with Ease”

  1. Love #4. I think it kind of dampens the mood when the host starts doing dishes. Everybody feels like they need to ask if he or she needs help. I just let the dishes pile high and leave them for the next morning.