Dinner Parties for Noobs

on Food  

Now that we have an apartment that can fit more than 4 people without squishing, we’ve been having people over for meals quite often. I love entertaining; someday I hope to have the kind of house where I can have massive dinner parties, but for now we can comfortably fit about 8 around our little table. I’m still quite a noob when it comes to getting organised for a party though – when people arrive (often slightly late, in my circle of friends) I’m usually still running around finishing off the food, even when it’s a bring-a-dish style dinner and I’m only really in charge of one thing. I’m lucky that I have The Boy to tag team with – one of us chats to our guests and fixes drinks whilst the other madly finishes off the food. Also lucky that we have the type of friends who will see a kitchen in chaos and immediately jump in with chopping things or washing dishes.

I’ve figured out that the best way to deal with last minute dinner party chaos is to go with something that’s relatively quick and easy. These are my favourites so far:

  • Bring-a-plate (usually with a theme) – means there’s usually only one thing to have to worry about finishing in time.
  • BBQ – minimum prep work, and better if it isn’t cooked when guests arrived – barbecuing is a group activity!
  • Pizza – easy to prep (we have a breadmaker so just need to remember to start the pizza dough mixing a couple hours early) and easy to pop into the oven a bit before guests come. Also makes our apartment smell good!
  • Build-your-own-taco – mine are probably nowhere near authentic, but still tasty – not much prep, lots of colour, spice and fresh vegetables, easy to make vegetarian and less work if guests are building their own.
  • Slow cooking – the kind of food where you just chuck everything in a slow-cooker/oven and take it out a few hours later, which means no last minute cooking!

I still haven’t gotten the hang of hosting and taking photos at the same time unfortunately – there always seems to be something that needs to be done, and I find it difficult to be both a photographer and a participant. Hopefully I’ll eventually get the hang of doing both so I can have some nicer photos to show here.

What kind of things do you cook when you entertain?

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