If you say it's a dinner party, it *is* one.
Playing hostess without the stress.
How’s it hanging in your kitchen? I have huge news to report from mine: I’m fairly certain I’ve originated the next! big! thing! in the dining and entertainment space. A totally new, fresh, exciting way to eat! A trend worth trying out! Come July, all the cool kids will certainly be doing it!
What is this brilliant, incredible, amazing, show stopping, spectacular, never the same, totally unique, completely never been done before dining experience, you ask? Well, dear reader, it’s what I’m calling the Dinner Party for Two. That’s right, a Micro Dinner Party! Now, is this just…having a friend over for dinner? Yes! Absolutely it is. I’m being a bit cheeky, of course.
But I’m also being sincere—I completely believe that if you say something’s a dinner party, it is a dinner party. And I know this for certain because last week I hosted my friend Daniele for a Micro Dinner Party (and lightly documented it) and even though I put very little effort into hosting her (I served leftovers from meal prep class!) we had the most lovely, special evening.
We’re all chomping at the bit to spend time gathering at home with friends and family right now, right?
If you’re spending time in the same corner of social media as I do, it certainly feels like it. #dinnerpartytok is all the rage, the coastal grandmother aesthetic is as much about having family gathered around huge kitchen islands as it is about white linen pants, and you can spot beautifully curated stores dedicated solely to the pursuit of hosting cropping up in Brooklyn shopping roundups. We’re all on the same page and that page happens to be a hand drawn menu at a friend’s beautifully set table in their warm, lovely home.
I’m thrilled to see it! I’ve loved hosting since I had a place to of my own to do it in, but I know it can feel a bit daunting at times.
So, whether you plan to host a single friend or are getting ready to feed a crowd, let’s cover a few of my tips for hosting a stress-free dinner party.
Pre-Party Cleaning My advice here is to do as much or as little as makes you feel most comfortable. Keep in mind, your friends and family are there for the company and to a lesser extent, the food. They definitely don’t see things in your home with as keen an eye as you do. So you can follow this cheeky guide and do no cleaning at all! Or, if you prefer and you’ll feel more comfortable, do a little spot cleaning here and there like I do. And by spot cleaning, I mean I pick up clutter and throw it in some part of my home where guests won’t see it. Like rumpled on the floor a closet. Or tossed in a pile in the bathtub with the shower curtain drawn…you catch my drift. Don’t overthink it.
Setting the Mood Again, we’re going with a don’t overthink it motto here! Dim the lights and toss on your favorite playlist and anything you do beyond that will be a bonus. For this week’s Micro Dinner Party, I picked up some cheap-o TJ’s flowers for the vase that lives on my dining table and lit a couple tapers and called it a day.
Cooking I think you should do as much or as little cooking as you want! You’re probably starting to sense a theme here; I tend to entertain with a sense of ease and simplicity…but we’ll talk more about that in a moment. When it comes to food, don’t bite off more than you can chew (pun, as always, intended) and plan a menu that will make you feel confident. This may mean you’re inviting everyone over and serving takeout and that’s beyond fine—it’s great! It also may mean you’re serving a fully homemade, multi-course meal. Also great! Or maybe you’re landing somewhere in the middle like I did at my Dinner Party for Two this past Wednesday. Like I mentioned, I served leftover grain salad from meal prep class and paired it with freshly made seared salmon and a homemade tzatziki, all of which came together in about 20 minutes, which was perfect for a simple weeknight supper
Accepting Assistance Let your guests help you! For me, this means I almost always ask my guests to bring wine or a beverage of their choice. Daniele brought a really wonderful crisp Austrian Riesling. But in my book, it’s also totally kosher to ask for a dessert, appetizer, or a little extra help with the…
Cleanup It’s something you can definitely let your guests help with. But my biggest controversial take is that it’s also okay to leave a little bit of it to the morning after your soiree. Cut yourself a little slack! Which brings me perfectly to the most important part of hosting…
Attitude Okay, I’ve already mentioned this multiple times—I prefer to entertain with as much a sense of ease and simplicity as possible. And that’s for two main reasons: first, of course I want any hosting I do to be easy, stress-free, and fun! What’s the other option? Hard, anxiety inducing, and boring? No thanks! But more importantly, a light attitude around preparations to host a dinner party will naturally extend itself to the main event. If you were relaxed getting ready to host, imagine how cool, calm, and collected you’ll seem when guests actually arrive. Your attitude sets the tone for the evening, so having a sense of calm about you will put your guests at ease and set the night off to a lovely start. So if you find yourself feeling a bit stressed before hosting, think of my voice in your head reminding you, “Relax! It’ll make it more fun for you, but also, a better experience for your guests, and isn’t that what it’s all about?”
Okay, I’ll leave it there for now, but I’d be thrilled to expand on this topic. You can respond directly to this email to let me know if there’s any dinner-party specific queries you have. Maybe I’ll answer them in an upcoming edition of The Fresh Letter. And I’m curious, would you host a dinner party for two? This may sound nuts and don’t tell him, but I might host a dinner party for just me and Q this week. Again, if you say it’s a dinner party…it is one!!!!
Alright, that covers it! As always, wishing you a lovely, well-fed week ahead.
With love and a tip of my chef’s hat,