Dinner party differences
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Last weekend we did some entertaining, holding a dinner party for 4 adults and 4 kids. Yes, we had guests over on Sunday night and a highly enjoyable night was had by all. We set a highly ambitious menu for the evening and even with kids running all around, managed to pull it off.
But the whole evening got me thinking about dinner parties of days gone by – sans children, and the differences in how we entertained then, to now:
The ‘fixed date’ of said entertaining becomes a very flexible one. Actual dates are thrown to the wind and provide more of a general goal, rather than and exact point in time. October 19th becomes rather any date in October where all children involved, do not have colds or a fever.
The table setting:
You may or may not have one. It may or may not be ironed. It may or may not have food stains on it but if you flip it over, should be passable if you dim the lights. Your signature intricate napkin folding with native flowers placements are a thing of days past and now you’ll just be happy if you can find 4 clean napkins that are within generally the same colour code.
Rather than 4 courses, it’s now highly likely to contain takeaway. With full-time work and daycare pick ups, there will be little time to buy all the food, let alone cook it. If you do manage to go and do a ‘big shop’ you will inevitably miss one ingredient. The vital ingredient. The one important ingredient that none of you or your neighbours have. The important missing ingredient upon the discovery of which, will make you swear. To top the night off, the swear word will be then repeated all night to your guests by the child who was standing quietly to the left of you.
Similarly, your normal red wine jus will now be replaced with just drinking red wine straight out of a cask because you burnt all the food that you’d managed to buy, whilst trying to convince said small child not to drink the toilet water.
There will be a lot more crying at dinner parties than there used to be. Spontaneous fights will erupt not over the privatization of healthcare or the questionable tone of Miles Davis, but over Dora the Explorer and/or who’s turn it is to press the button so that Peppa Pig will once again grace the screen.
Your guests will no longer leave with a cute noodle box with home-made petit fours. The only thing they will be leaving with now is the garbage, of which they will thoughtfully pop into the big bin on the way out.
Our* Autumn menu:
Kale chips with wild boar pate on toast, with cinnamon and ginger pickled pears.
Rosemary/thyme/garlic Lamb cutlets with with potato/goats cheese gratin with roasted garlic butter and a red wine sauce.
Wrapped apples with almond/roasted hazelnuts stuffing with a dash of Calvados and vanilla ice cream.
*TSH did everything. He had the goal. He had the plan. I bought the kale, but that’s about it.
Tried entertaining with kids? how did it work for you?
I’m not much of a dinner party girl. Indeed, I’m sure I’ve never been to a ‘proper’ one – mostly informal things where someone might cook – but not get too carried away. I’m not sure if it’s a ‘being single’ thing – most of my catch ups with friends are out. Indeed I can’t remember the last time someone invited me over for dinner. Perhaps in the 1990s?
Well lucky you, eating out means no dishes to do! How are the restaurant’s up in your ‘new’ town?
Wow, your party looked amazing and the food, wow! Last “dinner party” we had was an afternoon playdate that consisted of store-bought fruit and veggie platters and then pizza ordered.
Your last dinner party sounded perfect, and much like our ones too. We don’t get to entertain so often but now we are trying to do it more, it’s so fun. TSH loves to cook, and I love to eat so it’s a perfect match.